Sexually Transmitted Infections
What is an STI?
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is a bacterial or viral infection which can be spread through sexual contact (not just unprotected sex). STIs can affect anyone and many of them are on the increase.
How will I know if I have an STI?
The best way to know if you have an infection is to get screened. Whilst some STIs have symptoms that you may notice, others have no symptoms at all or symptoms that show up months or years after unprotected sex with an infected partner. If you are sexually active it is recommended that you get tested once a year. If you have had or expecting to have unprotected sex with a new partner it is best to get tested as soon as possible.
Where can I get screened?
The best place to get tested is at a Sexual Health Clinic. Most clinics run drop-in sessions but if you call ahead you may also be able to book an appointment at a time which suits you. Click here to find your nearest sexual health clinic.
Getting screened is quick and easy. View the video below to see what happens when you visit a sexual health clinic.
Alternatively, if you live in Greater Manchester you can request a testing kit for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV to be posted to your home by following this link: http://www.ruclear.co.uk/take-a-test.
How do I avoid STIs?
The best way to avoid STIs is to use a condom every time you have sex. If you are using other contraception to avoid pregnancy it is still a good idea to use a condom as this is the most effective way to avoid STIs.
What are the different types of STIs?
Click on the links to find out more about the different STIs, including symptoms and treatments.
If I am lesbian, gay or bisexual am I still at risk of contracting an STI?
Yes, anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting an STI regardless of sexuality. Infections can be passed from sharing sex toys, oral and anal sex and other forms of sexual contact.
If you wish to access specific lesbian, gay and bisexual screenings and information please click here.
I think I have an STI – what do I do?
The best thing to do if you think you may have an STI is to get tested. This will put your mind at rest, allow you to get treated should you have an STI and allow you to get advice on how to avoid the situation again.
If left untreated, STIs can cause health problems later in life so it is best to find out that you have an STI as soon as possible and get treated.