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 12 months or more often if you’re having sex with multiple casual partners. If you identify as man who has sex with other men, some or all the time, you can at LGBT Foundation. For more information about LGBT Foundation's testing services click here.
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.
Some people may feel shame and stigma when it comes to managing their sexual health but remember that you're in control and shouldn't have to face judgement about the sex that you're having.
If you do pick up an STI, don’t feel embarrassed 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 can be done through a variety of different ways including anonymous letters sent from the sexual health clinic, and through apps and online portals.