STI symptoms may not show

They can be caused by bacteria or viruses. They can even come in the form of parasites such as pubic lice.

STIs are found on the body, in blood, and in body fluids like semen.

Sometimes, STIs like genital warts and herpes can be spread through skin-to-skin contact and simply kissing someone with a herpes blister may be enough to infect you.

STIs are spread from person to person during sexual intercourse and that means oral sex and anal sex as well.

Intravenous drug use, tattooing or body piercing can also spread an infection if the needles and equipment aren’t clean.

An STI can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, at the time of delivery and through the process of breastfeeding.

Most STIs can be cured, but some will never go away and require lifelong treatment. And make no mistake; having an STI puts you at a greater risk of getting HIV/AIDS.

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs, particularly amongst teenagers and young adults. It’s caused by bacteria and is spread by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected, even though they may not have any symptoms.

You can have chlamydia for a long time before symptoms show up. In fact, many people never have symptoms. Some 70 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men who have chlamydia may not show symptoms. So even if you don’t have any symptoms, you might be spreading it to others during unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex.

The symptoms in women are:

* Increased vaginal discharge.

* Vaginal itching.

* Bleeding between periods.

* Bleeding during or after sex.

* Pain in your lower abdomen.

* Burning feeling when you urinate.

The symptoms in men are:

* A watery discharge coming from your penis.

* Burning or itching around the tip your penis.

* Needing to urinate a lot.

* Burning feeling when you pee.

* Pain in your testicles.

Chlamydia is treated using specific antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. You should not have any sex, including oral sex, until you have finished all of the treatment and have had a follow-up test to make sure the infection is gone.

Your sexual partners need to be advised and get tested and treated for chlamydia, whether or not they have symptoms.

Gonorrhea is often called ‘the clap’ and is caused by bacteria. It is spread by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected, even though they may not have any symptoms.

You can have gonorrhea but show no symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, it can be spread to others during oral, vaginal or anal sex without either partner knowing it.

In fact, 50 per cent of women and men who have gonorrhea may not show symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice the symptoms than women because for women, the symptoms are often so mild that they can be mistaken for something else.

The symptoms for women are:

* Increased or strange vaginal discharge.

* Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate.

* Itchy, red, or swollen vagina.

* Pain or bleeding when you have sex.

* Pain in your lower abdomen.

* Bleeding between periods.

* Rectal pain.

The symptoms for men are:

* A thick, white or yellow discharge from your penis.

* Pain when you pee.

* Needing to urinate a lot.

* Burning or itching around the tip of your penis.

* Painful or swollen testicles.

* Rectal pain.

Some types of gonorrhea are more difficult to treat than others. The best treatment for gonorrhea is an injection and pills.

If you do not have the injection, the gonorrhea may not be completely gone. You may still be able to spread the infection to your sexual partners.

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