STI: Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

Be more aware of all things regarding STIs. Understand the symptoms, how to get tested & the treatments for these conditions.

What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?

Many people with sexually transmitted infections are unaware as they are not showing any obvious  symptoms, so it’s worth getting tested, even if you feel fine. If you’ve had unprotected sex or think you might be at risk, it’s important to get a check-up and seek advice through either your GP, sexual health clinic, or local Alphega pharmacist who will advise you on where to seek further advice and treatment. The earlier you seek treatment, the more effective it will be.

An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.  Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, have no cure, but can be treated to prevent them becoming worse.

If left untreated an STI can have lasting impact on your health. For example, chlamydia can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, and gonorrhoea can affect fertility in both men and women.

What are the symptoms to look out for?

Many people don’t notice symptoms when they have an STI, 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 from pubic lice

In women

  • Yellow or green vaginal discharge
  • Discharge that smells
  • Bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower abdominal pain

In men

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Irritation of the urethra (the tube where urine comes out of)

These symptoms do not 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. For example, it's possible to get thrush without having sex, but it can cause STI-like symptoms, such as soreness, itching and discharge.

Where can I get tested for STIs?