Sexual HealthIn this section we describe the type of infections both common and not so common that you can get from unprotected sex with a partner.

What are sexually transmitted diseases?

Sexual activity often involves getting close to another person. Being close allows infections present in one person to be passed on to the other.

You can’t be much closer to someone than, when you are sexually intimate, so it isn’t surprising if germs can get spread that way.

Anyone having sex can get a sexually transmitted disease (S.T.D.) from an infected partner, if they do not use any protection (e.g. condoms).There are at least 25 different S.T.D.’s which are all spread during sex, this can mean through vaginal intercourse, oral sex or anal sex.

If left untreated, S.T.D.’s can cause infertility and permanent damage to your health, therefore early diagnosis and treatment is very important. If you are worried about having an S.T.D. or are thinking of having a baby, it would be wise to visit your doctor or local G.U.M. clinic. Everybody can catch an S.T.D. even if you have been with your partner for some time, this is not necessarily because your partner has been unfaithful but because some infections can lie dormant in the body and may not cause symptoms.

GUM clinics treat all information with total confidentiality and they will not even tell your doctor you have been there, unless you ask them to. To find out where your nearest local GUM clinic is visit the following website: FIND YOUR NEAREST GUM CLINIC. However, we are not liable or in any way responsible for the content or suitability of any external sites that you reach from within this site. If you are too embarrassed to attend a GUM clinic or don’t have the time, then you can purchase our home test which looks for the presence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea, for more information on this test click here.

 

What can I do to reduce my risk of sexually transmitted diseases?

To avoid all S.T.D.’s you should get to know new partners before having sex and always use condoms until you are certain that neither of you have any infections. Trust is a huge part of this and usually the only way you will know for sure, is for you and your partner to be fully tested for all infections. Remember, you can’t always tell if you or your partner has a sexual infection as neither of you might have any symptoms.

Explore other ways of having sex such as kissing, stroking and touching. Use condoms on sex toys such as vibrators if they are being shared and always wash the toy between activities. Put a new condom on for each new partner and activity.

 

What can I do if I get a sexually transmitted disease?

If spotted early enough, most S.T.D.’s can be easily treated. Drugs can often control those that can’t be treated, like H.I.V. You can get a vaccination to protect against hepatitis A and B, if you believe you could be at risk of catching the infection.

 

Condoms

Even in this day and age many people are still embarrassed about buying condoms, but they can be now bought in most places and are as easy to buy as a newspaper. Probably the easiest place to get them is in a pub or nightclub (most have vending machines in the male and female toilets), however, do ensure that they have a kite mark as a sign of quality. Condoms are free from your local G.U.M. clinic and family planning clinic.

When using condoms always use them correctly, practice at home first if you have never used one before. Never use any oils or Vaseline™ with male condoms, as it will damage them. Always check the expiry date, and always keep a spare supply where they can’t get damaged, by light, heat or damp.

When opening a condom, make sure that the foil, fingernails or jewellery do not damage the fine rubber. Never re-use a condom and never flush them down the toilet, wrap them in tissue and place them in the bin.

Sex is a natural and healthy part of life but it does need thought and preparation, to avoid problems later on.