What are STIs
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the bugs that used to be known as venereal disease, or VD, are very common and can affect you whether you're straight, gay or bisexual. And you don't need to have sex with lots of people to be at risk of catching an STI — just one brief encounter with an STI may be enough.
Infections can be transmitted in several ways:
- through vaginal sex
- through oral sex
- through anal sex
- through skin-to-skin contact
Not every infection is passed in all these ways — HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) cannot be passed through skin-to-skin contact, for example.
Some of the more common symptoms to look out for include:
- a yellow discharge from your penis
- inflammation of your testicles
- irritation of your penis
- pain when urinating
If you have any of these problems, or any other suspicious symptoms, your best bet is to get them checked by a doctor at a specialist genito-urinary (GUM) clinic. GUM clinics provide a totally confidential service.
The best ways to avoid an STI are:
- To be celibate (not considered a desirable option by most people).
- To practice safer sex (this means always using a condom for penetrative sex).
- To get regular check-ups at a GUM clinic. This is important because not all STIs produce symptoms.
It's important to remember that most STIs can be easily treated.
There are young people talking about sexual health on Dipex.
Page created on January 1st, 2005
Page updated on January 16th, 2010