All About STIs
STI stands for Sexually transmitted infections and they’re a big deal in some ways and not in others.
The most common STI for young people is chlamydia. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and is spread very easily through sexual contact, a bit like a cold. It’s easily treated with antibiotics but if left untreated it can cause some serious damage. Untreated chlamydia accounts for 50% of all infertility
There are 4 types of STI: bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections and parasitical infections. All of them are treatable which means you can get rid of the symptoms. The only thing is, you can’t cure viral infections completely. They live inside your body for the rest of your life so while they might not give you symptoms, they’re still there!
One example that’s not so serious is herpes. This STI is very common! If you’ve ever had a cold sore then you have the virus. Lots of people catch it when they’re a baby from relatives kissing them. But for most people it might only cause an outbreak when they are stressed or sunburned and the rest of the time it’s dormant. If you have outbreaks a lot then it’s good to see a doctor so they can treat it.
HIV is a virus and is very serious if left untreated. It can progress to AIDS and can be potentially fatal. Fortunately, there have been many advances in treatment and people can live with HIV relatively safely without it progressing and without passing it on. The only way to spread HIV is through semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk. It can’t be spread through things like urine, sweat or saliva which means you can’t get HIV from kissing someone!
The only way to protect yourself from STIs is by using condoms and they aren’t 100% fool proof so it’s important to get tested once a year and/or with every new sexual partner.
You can get tested by calling 0300 300 3030 to find a sexual health clinic in your area (or 01480 418555 if you’re in Huntingdon) to book an appointment. You can also get a screening by your GP. You can give us a call if you’d like to book a chlamydia or HIV test too!