Many People with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don't get symptoms, so it's worth getting tested even if you feel fine. If you think you have an STI, the earlier you're tested, the sooner treatment can be given if it's needed.
An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. You can get or pass on an STI whoever you're having sex with. STIs can pass between men and women, and from women to women and men to men.
Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, have no cure, but can be treated to prevent them getting worse. You can't tell by looking at someone (including yourself) whether they've got an infection, so it's important to get a check-up if you've had unprotected sex or think you might be at risk.
Many people don't notice symptoms when they have an STI, including most women with chlamydia. If it's left untreated, chlamydia can affect your ability to get pregnant. Gonorrhoea can also affect fertility. Around 50% of women and 10% of men with gonorrhoea have symptoms. Left untreated, STIs can affect your health. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, get tested.
In women and men:
- pain when you pass urine (pee)
- itching, burning or tingling around the genitals
- blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genitals or anus
- black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear – this could be droppings or eggs
- yellow or green vaginal discharge
- discharge that smells
- bleeding between periods or after sex
- pain during sex
lower abdominal pain
- discharge from the penis
- irritation of the urethra (the tube urine comes out of)
These-symptoms don't necessarily mean you have an STI, but it's worth seeing a doctor so you can find out what's causing the symptoms and get treatment.