A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a bacterial or viral infection that is passed on during unprotected sexual contact – this also includes oral sex.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had one partner or ten, anyone can get an STI so it’s important to get checked out. Leaving some STIs untreated can cause long-term problems, including infertility.
Signs and symptoms
Whilst some STIs have symptoms many don’t, so instead of hoping that you don’t have one it’s best to get checked.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are the most common STIs found in young people but most people won’t experience any symptoms at all.
Some STI symptoms include:
- Unusual discharge
- Stinging, tingling, burning or itching
- Painful swelling of penis, testicles or foreskin
- Soreness or swelling of the vagina
- Pain, burning or increase in your weeing
- Irregular bleeding
- Pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen (tummy)
- Pain or bleeding during sex
- A strong, unpleasant smell from the vagina after sex
- Blisters or sores
- Black powder in your underwear
Types of STIs
There are many different types of STIs that can be passed on during unprotected sex. Click on each STI to find out more on the Brook website:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
- Pubic lice
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Thrush (candidiasis)
The below are not STIs but they can be triggered by an STI:
How to protect yourself from STIs
Condoms and female (internal) condoms are the only methods of contraception that can protect you from STIs. You can also use dental dams which cover the female genital area or anus during oral sex.
If you haven’t used a condom or it has split it is really important to get tested so you don’t pass an STI on to someone else or cause yourself any harm.
You can go to a HYP service to get tested or order a free STI kit online.
Support from HYP
If you are a young person in Southwark aged 10-24 and need support you can find information about HYP services on the find a service page.
If you are a professional looking to refer a young person in Southwark in to HYP Southwark please go to our professionals section for further information.