A sexually transmitted infection (AKA: STI) is an infection that gets passed on from people to people through sexual contact. This contact is not reserved to coitus, it can happen with oral, anal and vaginal sex; also, it can be transmitted from man to man, man to woman, woman to woman and basically any combination of sexes. It’s important for you to know if you have one because you can pass one to someone without knowing and they can do the same to you; many infections can be cured with medications, but others, like HIV have no cure. You should get tested often because a lot of these diseases don’t produce symptoms, another reason to be extra careful. If you think you are at risk and/or have had unprotected sex, get tested ASAP (and use a condom next time!).
The most common sexual infections are chlamydia and gonorrhea; two deceases that tend to not have symptoms. “Well, if there are no symptoms, I should be fine right?” PANG! Wrong, guess again. They must be treated because they can cause infertility in men and hamper the ability to get pregnant in women…besides, you want to be healthy, right? Having said that, some signs of alarm that indicate you should get tested right away are:
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding after sex and during periods
- Lower abdominal pain
- Smelly and/or green and yellow vaginal discharge
- Tingling, itching and burning of the genitals
- Pain during urination
- Lumps, sores, blisters and spots around the genitals or anus
- Tiny small white dots or black powder in your underwear; they could be eggs from pubic lice
Good news is you can get tested in a sexual health clinic, some community contraceptive clinics and sexual health services and some pharmacies. You can go online to figure out the nearest place where you can gen tested. Better be safe than sorry!