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Contraception & Sexual Health

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – know the facts!

Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are just that – infections which are caught, and passed on, through sexual contact.

You might think STIs are something you don’t have to worry about, but STIs are easy to catch, can be very serious and some don’t have symptoms.

So, whether you’re having sex or not, it’s cool to know the facts....


Chlamydia
  • Most common STI
  • Bacterial infection
  • Often has no symptoms
  • Testing is a urine sample – ‘pee in a pot’
  • Treatment is with antibiotic tablets

Syphilis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Infection has three stages
  • Symptoms are easily missed but can include sores around the genitals, a rash, and flu-like symptoms
  • Testing for syphilis is a blood test
  • Treatment is with antibiotic injection, however, untreated syphilis can lead to very serious health problems and even death

Gonorrhoea
  • Bacterial infection
  • Symptoms can include an unusual white, yellow or green discharge (from the penis or vagina) and pain when passing urine
  • Treatment is with antibiotic tablets

Genital Warts
  • Infection which is caused by a virus
  • Small, fleshy, usually painless growths or bumps which appear in the genital area, but they can’t always be seen
  • The warts can be treated using a cream prescribed by a doctor, freezing, or removed by an operation
  • The virus can’t be cured completely and the warts can come back

HIV
  • A virus which damages the body’s defence system (the immune system) so it can’t fight off infections
  • Most people with HIV will look and feel healthy, so you can’t tell who has the virus and it can be passed on without people knowing
  • HIV can’t be cured – eventually the immune system will be unable to cope, leading to death

Help and Support…

Using a condom is the best way to help protect against STIs, but if you’ve had any sexual contact, or think you might have put yourself at risk, getting tested is simple.

  • Testing and treatment for a full range of STIs is available confidentially and free of charge at Sexual Health Teesside's GUM (Genito-urinary Medicine) service based at Lawson Street, Stockton.
  • Call 0333 000 0014 for an appointment or drop-in during the 'walk-in' service times – click on the 'Stockton and Norton' services area at the top of this page for times or click on the Sexual Health Teesside link in the 'useful links' section on the right hand side of this page.
  • Most C Card services also offer Chlamydia testing.

For information, advice and support, find your nearest service by clicking on your local area at the top of this page.