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 - learnwhen 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.
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.
Have I got an STI?
Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have no symptoms.
STIs can pass from one person to another during sex, especially if you don’t use a condom.
It is a good idea to get tested, especially if you have recently changed partners. Most infections can be cured.
It can take time for some STIs to show up in tests - learn when STIs show up in tests before you take one.
Getting your test results
Every test kit has to be sent back to the lab for analysis. There’s a grey freepost return envelope included. Your details will not appear on any of the samples or the freepost envelope, as SH:24 is completely confidential.
We will keep you updated by text message. We will send a text when your test kit has been dispatched to you and when the lab receives your samples.
We will text you your test results as soon as possible - always within 7 days. If you do have an infection, we will advise you of how to get treatment and further support.
If our free service is not available in your area, STI test kits are available to purchase from our sister service Fettle.health.
How do I get treatment?
We will send you your results by text message. If you have an infection, SH:24 will advise you to visit your local clinic for treatment. In some cases, an NHS clinician may call you to offer additional advice.
Typically, treatment will include a course of antibiotics, and may require you to attend a clinic in person.
You can also find your nearest sexual health clinic at any time at sxt.org.uk
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