Welcome to Healthy Dudley. This is the new public health website.

Sexually transmitted infections

So you think you have an STI?

Not all individuals who have a sexually transmitted infections (STIs) get symptoms, if you think you have been exposed to an STI, even though you have no signs, it is worth getting tested, the earlier you’re tested, the sooner treatment can be given if it’s needed.

An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. You can get or pass on an STI whoever you’re having sex with. STIs can pass between men and women, and from women to women and men to men.

Many STIs can be successfully treated and cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, have no cure, but can be treated to prevent them getting worse.

If you think you have an STI, call the local sexual health clinic or your GP surgery

What are the symptoms?

 

You can’t tell by looking at someone (including yourself) whether they’ve got an infection, so it’s important to get a check-up if you’ve had unprotected sex or think you might be at risk.

Symptoms

There are some symptoms you can look out for, although many people don’t notice symptoms when they have an STI. If you leave an STI untreated it can affect your health. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, get tested.

In women and men:

  • Pain when you pass urine (pee)
  • Itching, burning or tingling around the genitals
  • Blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genitals or anus
  • Black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear – this could be droppings or eggs from pubic lice

In women:

  • Yellow or green vaginal discharge
  • Discharge that smells
  • Bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower abdominal pain

In men:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Irritation of the urethra (the tube your urine comes out

These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have an STI, but it’s worth seeing a doctor so you can find out what’s causing the symptoms and get treatment.

For example, it’s possible to get thrush without having sex, but it can cause STI-like symptoms, such as soreness, itching and discharge. Thrush is easily treated – find out more about treatment for thrush.

Where to get tested?

You can get tested at:

  • A local sexual health clinic or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic (see services)
  • Some GP surgeries
  • Some pharmacies can also test for chlamydia
  • For additional sexual health services – call the National Sexual Health Line on 0300 123 7123 or Worth Talking About (for under-18s) on freephone 0800 28 29 30

You can get a free chlamydia test through the  Chlamydia Screening Programme (under-25s only).

Have safer sex

The best way to avoid STI’s is to always use condoms to help protect yourself from catching or passing on an STI. Buy condoms that have the CE mark or BSI kite mark on the packet.

This means they’ve been tested to high safety standards. Condoms that don’t have the CE mark or BSI kite mark won’t meet these standards, so don’t use them.