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What Is An STI?

Sexual Health Videos

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What is an STI?

The term STI or Sexually Transmitted Infection is used to describe a range of diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact. There are a large number of STIs including Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV and HPV to name a few.

Are STIs common?

Yes. Although people don’t like to talk about STIs, they are, in fact, extremely common. If you think you might have an STI, don’t despair. You should either go to your GP or an STI Clinic for STI testing. Most STIs can be treated very easily.

The Most-common STI List

There are quite a few different STIs. See our STI list below for the most-common STIs:

Chlamydia – an infection which may cause pain when you urinate, unusual discharge and, in women, bleeding between periods or after sex.
Genital warts - small fleshy growths on or near the genital or anal area.
Genital herpes - painful blisters on your genitals and the surrounding areas.
Gonorrhoea - a bacterial infection that can cause an unusual discharge from your vagina or penis, and pain when urinating.
• Syphilis - bacterial infection that causes a painless but highly infectious sore on your genitals or sometimes around the mouth.
• HIV – a virus that weakens your ability to fight infections and cancer. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection.
• Trichomoniasis – a condition caused by a tiny parasite. Women may have soreness and itching around the vagina and a change in vaginal discharge. Men may experience pain after urination and ejaculation.
• Pubic lice - tiny blood-sucking insects that live in coarse human body hair, most commonly pubic hair. They cause itching and red spots.
• Scabies - a contagious skin condition in which the main symptom is intense itching. It's caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin.

Why should I talk about my STIs?

When you’re together with a partner you should be open about any STIs either of you might have. Whilst most STIs can be treated by your GP or at an STI clinic, some are untreatable and can be extremely serious. You may have an STI with infrequent or no symptoms but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tell your partner or have an STI test. Infections like Chlamydia can display no symptoms but can seriously damage your health in the long term and can also lead to infertility. Using barrier contraception such as a condom can prevent transmission of STIs.



10591 Published March 2012

Review Scheduled March 2013

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