There has been a significant increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), otherwise known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) contracted in the UK over the past ten years. More information about the most recent STI statistics can be found here.
An STI, or STD, is an infection that is normally transmitted from one person to another through unprotected sexual intercourse. It can cause painful symptoms such as pain while urinating or an unusual discharge, but it doesnít always display symptoms.
If you think you have an STI or suspect you are at risk, itís very important to visit your doctor, local GUM (genitourinary) clinic or take an STI test online as soon as possible to ensure you get treated quickly and effectively.
TestDiagnostics provides information about the most common STIs in the UK today, as well as tests and treatment information for all infections so that you can get the help you need.
How are STIs contracted?
STIs can be contracted through any form of sexual content, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. In some cases, an STI can be contracted simply through genital contact with an infected person, but only if that person is showing visible symptoms such as genital warts or herpes sores. You can also contract an STI by sharing sex toys with an infected partner, as the bacteria that cause the infection can bind to the object in question.
Having unprotected sex Ė sex without a condom Ė can put you at a greater risk of contracting an infection and there is nothing to protect yourself from skin-on-skin contact with an infected person.
Signs and Symptoms
STIs are often asymptomatic, which means that they donít show any symptoms. You may be infected but not realise you have contracted an STI, which is why it is so important that you have a sexual health screen at least once every year.
In other cases, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms. The most common STI symptoms include:
- Unusual vaginal or penile discharge
- Pain or bleeding during or after sex
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain when urinating
- Itchy or inflamed genitals
- Rashes, sores or lumps around the genitals
- Lower abdominal or testicular pain