Sexually Transmitted Infection’s. STI’s. Certainly not a badge of honour, and infections that people do not want to contract. Despite ownership of an STI not necessarily being a precursor of promiscuity, social stigmas still remain. Practicing safe sex is a sure fire way to reduce the risk of catching an STI, but the chance cannot always be fully eliminated.

There are a number of myths regarding STI’s – that they cannot be caught through oral sex, that they can be prevented by washing immediately after having sexual intercourse and that the contraceptive pill can protect against infection. However, unfortunately these are all untrue. Below we take a look at how to tell if you have an STI and if so, which type of disease/infection:

Fleshy Growths/ Bumps Around The Genitals or Anus

Most commonly these growths indicate the presence of genital warts. Caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), genital warts can arise without sexual intercourse as they develop through skin to skin contact. The warts are usually painless, but can occasionally bleed and become itchy. The most common treatment for this type of STI is a cream.

Painful Skin/Blisters And Sores

The development of painful skins, bumps and sores, is usually indicative of Herpes. After contracting the infection, herpes normally manifests itself a few days later and can make urinating an itchy and painful experience. Unfortunately there is no cure for herpes and it remains in your system forever. It will mostly be dormant however and can be controlled by antiviral medicines when symptoms do show up.

Pain When Urinating/Discharge

Pain when going to the toilet normally indicates gonorrhoea. This pain is usually accompanied by a yellow/green discharge which can be unpleasant for the individual suffering from the infection. Can be treated easily enough with antibiotics, but can cause fertility issues if it is not dealt with in a swift manner.

Flu Like Symptoms

There is a potential that if you have flu like symptoms then you may have HIV. Whilst HIV largely goes without any sort of symptoms in its infancy, there is often a flu like period, which may be disregarded as a normal illness. If participating in homosexual sex, or unprotected sex with individuals of African or Asian origin, the risk of contracting HIV may be increased. HIV can be detected by a blood test and whilst it is incurable, medical advancements have improved so much in recent years that sufferers can live with it for long periods of time without many issues.

Whilst some STI’s will arrive with symptoms, in a number of cases with different infections, there will be no trace that there is anything wrong. Chlamydia can often be symptomless and can result in infertility, and HIV can also go undetected for a long period of time. The best advice is to indulge in safe sex, using a condom and get checked out on a regular basis at a local GP or sexual health clinic to ensure peace of mind and long term health.