What is a sexually transmitted infection

If one person has an infection it can pass to another person through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Infections spread in this way are known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Most STIs are easily treated but treatment should be starteed as soon as possible. For some infections such as HIV there is currently no cure and the treatment can be complicated. If left untreated many STIs can be painful and uncomfortable or at worse cause permament damage to your health and fertility.

Some infections you might have heard of are;

  • chlamydia
  • genital warts
  • herpes
  • gonorrhoea
  • syphilis


Not everyone who has an STI has signs or symptoms. Sometimes these don’t appear for months and sometimes they go away but you can still have the infection. If you experience any of the following, you should seek advice; unusual discharge from penis/vagina, pain or burning when passing urine, itches/rashes/bumps around genitals, pain in testicles or lower abdomen.


Treatments for STIs vary, you should seek medical attention if you have the symptoms that are listed above.

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