Sexually Transmitted Infections FAQs

STI's are the group of diseases transferred through sex. You know the drill: wear a condom.

Sex. It feels good, helps to create personal bonds and relieves stress.

Like anything however there are risks but, luckily for you, we have a guide on how to avoid them and what to do if you think you have caught one.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the bugs that used to be known as venereal disease, or VD, are very common and can affect you whether you're straight, gay or bisexual. And you don't need to have sex with lots of people to be at risk of catching an STI — just one brief encounter with an STI may be enough.

Infections can be transmitted in several ways:

  • through vaginal sex
  • through oral sex
  • through anal sex
  • through skin-to-skin contact

Not every infection is passed in all these ways — HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) cannot be passed through skin-to-skin contact, for example.

Some of the more common symptoms to look out for include:

  • a yellow discharge from your penis
  • swollen tender testicles
  • irritation of your penis
  • pain when urinating

If you have any of these problems, or any other suspicious symptoms, your best bet is to get them checked by a doctor at a specialist genito-urinary (GUM) clinic. GUM clinics provide a totally confidential service.

The best ways to avoid an STI are:

  • To be celibate (not considered a desirable option by most people).
  • To practice safer sex (this means always using a condom for penetrative sex).
  • To get regular check-ups at a GUM clinic. This is important because not all STIs produce symptoms.

It's important to remember that most STIs can be easily treated. But you need to get tested sooner rather than later.

For more information on the most common STIs follow our links below.

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Date published 07/04/14
Date of last review 07/04/14
Date of next review 07/04/17


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It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

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