Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

(from bbc.co.uk) Click on the link below for local STD clinic contact details, eg opening times and addresses.

Opening Times and Locations

You can contact the local clinic by phone on 01926 423736

STIs are diseases passed on through bodily fluids and none of them are very nice. Get clued-up on STIs here with info on how to make sure you don't get one, symptoms of the most common ones and what do if you've got one...

What are they?

STIs, sexually transmitted diseases, STDs. What are they? STIs are diseases passed on through bodily fluids, like saliva, blood and sexual fluids (eg. sperm). We get an STI by having sex (including oral sex) with someone who's infected. All are unpleasant. And can cause lasting damage. But most are treatable. And preventable.

How can I make sure I don't get an STI?

Use a condom every time you have sex. This is the best protection we have. Condoms are little latex life savers. Never underestimate the power of the Jonny. Some couples go to the doctor or clinic for a check up to make sure they are free from infection before having sex without condoms.

But remember - this check up is useful, but not foolproof: The results are out of date as soon as we sleep with someone new.

How will I know if I've caught an STI?

Remember that STIs are often silent. This means that you or your partner may have one and know nothing about it. This doesn't mean you can't pass it on. And it doesn't mean it's not doing you harm inside. The only way to be sure, is to have a sexual health screen. This means seeing your GP or local sexual health clinic and having tests done to rule out infections. Sometimes (but not always) this includes swabs being taken from our genitals, blood tests and/or urine tests.

Everyone who is having sex should have an STI screen from time to time. Do the decent thing. Look after yourself.

The symptoms of the most common STIs are:

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea: Unusual discharge from the genitals (penis or vagina), pain urinating (weeing), pain in the lower abdomen. However, about 80% of women who have Chlamydia get no symptoms at all.

Genital warts: Flat or cauliflower-like bumps around the genitals.

Genital herpes: Painful blisters or ulcers on the mouth or genitals. Flu-like symptoms like headache or swollen glands.

Syphilis: Ulcers (which are often painless) on the genitals. Rashes, flu-like symptoms.

Pubic lice: Itching around the genitals, black powder found in underwear, white specks in pubic hair.

For info on HIV and Aids see the factfile.

What if I think I might have one?

See your doctor or sexual health clinic. Most STIs can be cured with a simple course of antibiotic pills or cream. But if left untreated they can cause more serious health problems like not being able to have babies.

Remember, the professionals you meet spend all day every day screening people for STIs. People of all shapes, sizes and sexualities.

No one will judge or lecture you. They'll just think you're great for taking care of yourself.