Think you have an STI?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections which are generally picked up through close body contact or sex. They are usually caused by:
- Viruses - Herpes, Hepatitis, HIV, Molluscum contagiosum and genital warts
- Bacteria - Bacterial Vaginosis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Non Specific Urethritis and Syphilis
- Parasites - Crabs, Scabies, Trichomonas Vaginalis and Giardia
- Fungi - Thrush
STIs can have a wide variety of symptoms, but sometimes the symptoms are easy to miss or the infection may not have any symptoms at all.
So, if you’re having sex, it’s important that you have regular check ups at your local sexual health clinic (sometimes called GUM Clinics). By regular, we mean once every six months or more often if you’re having sex with a lot of different people.
You can go to any sexual health clinic you want and you can make the appointment yourself, so you don’t need to see your GP first. However, most clinics are very busy, so it might take a while for you to get booked in unless you have symptoms, or you may have to travel to a clinic further from your home.
Unfortunately, many people consider sex and STIs to be a moral issue – something that you should feel ashamed or guilty about and something that should never be spoken about. As a result, a lot of us end up neglecting or avoiding our sexual health.
The problem is that if you don’t take care of your sexual health, it could have a disastrous affect on your whole life. So remember, if you do pick up an STI, don’t feel embarrassed or dirty and don’t think you’re alone. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last person to get an STI. Just get yourself treated as quickly as you can and if it’s possible, tell people that you’ve had sex with, so that they can get tested and treated (if necessary) too.
This information is available in our Sex Education booklet.
Our guide to good sexual health for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
A favourite of the LGF team which has had several print incarnations. It is our most accessible sexual health resource and ideal for LGB people aged 16 upwards.
It is most common in areas like the throat, vagina, penis, urethra (the tube that runs down the penis) and the arse.read more
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Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common form of vaginal infection, being twice as common as thrush, for which it is often mistaken.read more
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Lymphogranuloma Venereum (L…
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Trichonomas is caused by a tiny parasite which lives in the vagina and urethra.read more