Sexually Transmitted infections or STI’s are infections that you can catch by having sex (including oral sex) with someone who already has an STI.
STIs are infections that live in bodily fluids like sperm, saliva and blood. If you had unprotected sex with someone (sex without a condom), you could catch an STI…They are exactly that sexually transmitted!
Not all STIs have symptoms, so you won’t necessarily know if you have or your partner has one.
There are lots of different types of STI’s that you can catch. All of them are unpleasant, but most of them can be treated. Using a condom every time you have sex helps stop you from getting an STI.
There are lots of places in Nottinghamshire where you can be tested and treated for STI’s…
WHAT HAPPENS AT AN STI CLINIC?
Getting tested and treated for STI’s is free and confidential in Nottinghamshire. Sexual Health clinics and Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinics specialise in sexual health and can provide tests and treatments for many STI’s. Some Sexual Health clinics are also known as CASH clinics (Contraception And Sexual Health)
CASH and GUM clinics are located in different places, and can be used by men, women and young people, including those who are under 16 years of age. In most areas there are young people specific clinics (a time specifically for young people to attend).
Take a look around one of the GUM clinics in Notts
It’s important to realise that some people with chlamydia won’t have any symptoms, or even know that they have got it… It’s what we call the ‘Ghost STI’.
If symptoms do develop, they may include:
- Pain while weeing
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- In females it can cause pain in the tummy, bleeding after sex, and between periods
- In males it can cause pain and swelling in the testicles
This is the most common STI in the UK, mainly in sexually active teenagers and young adults! It is passed on from one person to another by having unprotected sex.
Chlamydia can be easily treated with a dose of antibiotics, but if left untreated (and unnoticed) it can cause damage to our insides which may lead to infertility.
It’s important to get tested and treated if you think you may have chlamydia.
If symptoms do develop, they may include;
- Thick green or yellow discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain while weeing
- In females bleeding between periods
This STI has very similar symptoms to chlamydia…. It’s also another ‘Ghost STI’. This STI is easily passed between people through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Gonorrhoea can be easily treated with antibiotics, but like chlamydia, if left untreated it can lead to more serious long term health problems such as infertility.
It’s important to get tested and treated if you think you have Gonorrhoea.
Genital herpes is an infection caused by something known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus can be passed on from one person to another during vagina and anal. It can also be passed on if you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore. This is because it is in the same family of viruses but a different strain. For example, Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to the mouth, but cold sores can be transmitted to the genitals and give someone herpes.
Genital herpes can be treated with creams and antival tablets which will clear up the infection, however there is no cure for genital herpes. This means that although the virus may clear up, it remains dormant or inactive in your system, therefore allowing it to be reactivated at any time causing outbreaks of the virus. This usually happens during times of stress, and feeling un-well.
It’s important to get tested and treated if you think you have Genital Herpes.
- Painful blisters and sores (like ulcers) on the genital and surrounding areas
- Tingling and itching feeling on the genital and surrounding areas
- Flu like symptoms
- Pain while weeing
The symptoms of this infection develop in 3 stages:
1. Primary Stage; painless sores where the bacteria enters the body. This can be found on the vagina, cervix, penis, anus or mouth. If left untreated at this stage it can lead onto stage 2.
2. Secondary- sores in the mouth, a rash can develop on the body and also flu like illness may develop. If left untreated at this stage, symptoms can develop to those in stage 3.
3. Tertiary- it can take a long time for this stage to develop (10 or more years in some cases) but symptoms include damage to the heart, joint, nervous system and even your brain or major joints.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually caught by having sex with someone who is infected.
Syphilis can be treated easily with antibiotics, however if left untreated at stages one and two any damage caused by the infection is left untreatable.
It’s important to get tested and treated if you think you have Syphilis.
find a Syphilis test centre
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease. The most common way this can be caught is by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV. The virus is present in blood, semen and vaginal fluids. HIV can also be passed on by sharing contaminated needles or syringes through injections.
There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people to live a long and healthy life.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV, when your body can no longer fight life threatening infections.
Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV. It’s important to get tested and treated if you think you have HIVs.
There are several support services for people who are infected or affected by HIV who live in nottinghamshire.
Most people who have HIV don’t know they have it unless they are tested. Testing involves taking a blood sample.