What is an STI?

  • Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have no symptoms
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites that can be passed from one person to another during sex or intimate contact
  • Most STIs are passed between sexual partners through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex - especially if you don’t use a condom
  • It is a good idea to get tested, especially if you have recently changed partners
  • The only way to know if you have an infection is to have an STI test. Most infections can be cured
  • can take time for some STIs to show up in tests - learn when STIs show up tests before you take one
  • If you are diagnosed with an STI you should avoid having sex with anyone until you have completed treatment
  • If you do have sex, the infection could be passed to your sexual partner.

General symptoms

STI symptoms vary from obvious itchiness, soreness, rashes or redness, to pain when passing urine, discharge from the penis or vagina, and lumps or sores on the genitals. Some symptoms may also be internal - for example, pain inside your stomach or groin.

Sometimes you will get no symptoms at all or the symptoms will take a long time to show. This means you could be passing infections on to other people without knowing it.

The only way to know you have an infection is to have an STI test.