Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs)

These are infections that are passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual intercourse or through close genital contact with someone who is infected.

STIs can be caused by different types of germs (organism) and can manifest in different ways depending on the type of STI.

The following are the commonly known STIs

  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes
  • Genital warts

What are the symptoms of STIs?

One or more of the following symptoms may occur when you have an STI

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Sores, swelling and blisters around the penis, vagina or anus
  • Severe itching around the vagina or penis
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Usual rash around the genitals

How do I know my symptoms are the result of an STI?

If you are sexually active and you develop any of the symptoms described above, you should see your doctor who might be able to identify the particular cause of your symptoms. They may need also to examine you and perform some test on your urine, discharge or any sores you might have.

It might also be useful for your partner to get tested and treated even if they do not have symptoms. It is also important to abstain from sex if you have any of the symptoms described until you have been tested and treated as required.

What is the treatment for STIs?

STIs can mostly be treated with antibiotics but the specific treatment will depend on the type of STI. It is usually vital to have your partner treated as well so as to break the cycle of infection.

How can I prevent myself from getting STIs?

You can reduce the risks of STIs by taking the following steps:

  • Use condoms every time you have sex. This will lower your risk of getting STIs although they are not guaranteed to prevent the risk of getting some infections such as genital herpes and warts.
  • Limit the number of sexual partners that you have as you are more likely to get an STI if you have multiple partners.
  • Do not have sexual contact with your partner if they are known to have an STI. Ensure that they are treated first and that you also see a health professional before you resume sexual contact.
  • Avoid the sharing of sex toys with other people.