We know this isn’t a popular topic, and no one likes to shout about it but it’s worth knowing so you’re aware.

What is an STI?

STI stands for sexually transmitted infections, and it is exactly that. It’s an infection or disease caught or passed on from a sexual partner. The infection or disease can be passed through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.

Types of STI:

Below are some of the most common types of STI-

  • Chlamydia – passed on during sex, rarely obvious symptoms
  • Genital warts – small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around your genital or anal area
  • Genital herpes – a common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is the same virus that causes cold sores
  • Gonorrhea – a bacterial STI easily passed on during sex
  • Syphilis – a bacterial infection that causes a painless sore on your genitals or around the mouth. The sore can last up to six weeks before disappearing
  • HIV – most commonly passed through unprotected sex, the virus attacks and weakens the immune system
  • Pubic lice – passed to others through close genital contact. They’re usually found in pubic hair
  • Scabies – tiny mites that burrow into the skin. It can be passed on through close body or sexual contact, or from infected clothing, bedding or towels.

Getting tested…

You can make an appointment to go to an STI clinic (these can also be found as departments of big hospitals), they also typically have drop-in clinics at certain times in the week which you can just turn up at without an appointment.

At the appointment, you don’t have to give your real name if you don’t want, although if you do your contact details are kept completely confidential. You can receive your results either by phone, text or in an unmarked letter.

When you explain your situation the nurse or doctor will suggest the tests they recommend you to take, and explain why you should take them, ask any questions you have and be rest assured that these nurses and doctors speak to a tonne of people and so they’ve heard almost everything so do not be embarrassed or afraid to tell all.

To find a sexual health service close to you, click here.

If you’d like instant advice, or to talk to someone you can call the national sexual health line on 0300 123 7123, it’s a young people’s sexual health service.