Six STIs you should know about

Despite a more open attitude towards sex, the subject of STIs remains something that people are not that comfortable discussing. Perhaps it is because they are embarrassed or feel they are not as informed as they feel they should be. Many people don’t realise that you can be infected but not have any obvious symptoms but this is actually a very common scenario and one of the main reasons that infections can spread almost silently.

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Get treated

Leaving STIs untreated can lead to long-term damage and even infertility. This is why it is important to be tested regularly and get treatment if you need it.

The six main STIs you should be aware of are:

1. Chlamydia – in the UK this is the most common STI and is one where many people have no symptoms so do not even realise they have it. Noticeable symptoms that may arise with this infection include pain/burning whilst urinating, discharge, and pain during or after sex. Fortunately, Chlamydia can be treated with just one course of antibiotics.

2.Genital Warts – in the UK the second most common STI, these are fleshy small growths that may be painful and/or itchy. This infection can be spread through skin-to-skin contact and treatment consists of creams or freezing off the warts.

3. Gonorrhoea – caused by bacteria, this infection can spread easily through intercourse. The symptoms, if they are noticeable, are similar to those of chlamydia. This infection can be treated with an antibiotic injection.

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4. Genital herpes – is quite a common infection that is caused by the HPV virus. Symptoms tend to occur a few days post-infection and consist of small painful blisters in the genital area. Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes.

5. HIV – a virus that attacks the immune system and is usually spread through unprotected sex. Many with HIV appear healthy and don’t display any obvious symptoms. There is no cure for HIV at present.

6. Pubic lice or ‘crabs’ – these lice can be spread easily through bodily contact. They can live in pubic, underarm, body or facial hair. Crabs can be treated using creams/shampoos.

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