Sexual health is an important part of physical and mental health as well as your emotional and social wellbeing. It’s important to take care of your sexual health and to talk about sex and relationships with your loved ones.
Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do not get symptoms, so it’s worth getting tested even if you feel fine. If you think you have an STI, the earlier you’re tested, the sooner treatment can be given if it’s needed.
Many people do not notice symptoms when they have an STI, including most women with chlamydia.
If it’s left untreated, chlamydia can affect your ability to get pregnant.
Gonorrhoea can also affect fertility. Around 50% of women and 10% of men with gonorrhoea do not have symptoms.
Left untreated, STIs 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
- yellow or green vaginal discharge
- discharge that smells
- bleeding between periods or after sex
- pain during sex
- lower abdominal pain
- discharge from the penis
- irritation of the urethra (the tube urine comes out of)
These symptoms do not 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.
Contraception helps protect you from pregnancy. There are different methods to choose from.
Oral contraceptive pill
The Oral Contraceptive Pill is a pill that is taken everyday to prevent pregnancy. It is often called ‘the pill’. The pill does not prevent against sexually transmitted infections.
Jadelle – contraceptive implant
The contraceptive implant is a form of contraception for women, to prevent pregnancy. It contains only one hormone, progesterone. It does not contain oestrogen.
Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD, IUCD)
An IUD is used to prevent pregnancy. You can get copper IUDs or hormonal IUDs (Mirena). These sit inside your uterus (womb).