Spot the signs: The symptoms of STIs

Worried about STIs? Learn how to spot the symptoms and how to protect yourself

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another during unprotected sex or genital contact. The number of people with STIs in Ireland is rising and the HSE has reported a 14% increase so far this year compared with 2013. This is why it’s important to know how to protect yourself, the symptoms to look out for and what to do if you are worried you may have an STI.

What are the most common STIs and what are the symptoms?

The most common sexually transmitted infections in Ireland are chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital warts. Worryingly many people experience no symptoms at all when infected and are therefore unaware that they have one of these infections.

It’s important to recognise the symptoms of these common STIs if they do appear, so you can seek treatment as soon as possible. The most common symptoms associated with these infections are:

Chlamydia symptoms

  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pelvic pain for women or pain in the testicles for men

Gonorrhoea symptoms

  • Green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis.
  • A burning sensation when urinating

Genital warts symptoms

  • Small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes on or around the genital or anal area
  • Genital warts are usually painless but may occasionally itch and cause some inflammation

Protecting yourself from STIs

Although there are many forms of contraception which can protect from unwanted pregnancies, only condoms can protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Therefore if you have had sex without a condom then you could be at risk from common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts and HIV.

How to get tested for STIs

As many STIs can result in no obvious symptoms you may be infected and not realise, this is why it is really important to get tested if you have had unprotected sex. Many STIs can be easily treated so don’t put off getting tested or panic if your results are positive.

If you are worried that you may have an STI and don’t want to speak to your GP, Lloyds Online Doctor offer home testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV. The tests are easy to use, as accurate as a clinic tests and offer you complete discretion and confidentiality. Click here if you’d like to find out more about home testing or order a home test kit today

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