Back to basics! What is an STI?

An STI is a sexually transmitted infection.

❓What’s the difference between an infection and a disease?

🦠 Infections come from bacteria and viruses.
🧫 Some diseases can develop from infections but not all diseases start from infections.

🦠 An infection may progress into a disease when it officially disrupts the body’s normal functions and processes.

💬 There can be a lot of stigma around the word ‘disease’ and so I’ve seen a big shift in language over the last 10 years when it comes to STIs.

🍄 STIs are either:
A virus (certain types of HPV/HIV/genital herpes/hep b)
A bacteria (gonorrhoea/syphilis/chlamydia)
A parasite (pubic lice/TRICH)
(Thrush, a fungus, is not an STI but can be passed on during sex)

🤕 Many do not show any symptoms at the beginning so the ONLY way to know that you have it and need treatment is to get tested.

🤒 Some symptoms could be: Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area; Painful or burning urination; Discharge from the penis; Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge; Unusual vaginal bleeding; Pain during sex; Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin; Lower abdominal pain; Fever

👩‍⚕️ Health care professionals are there to HELP you and are very used to these types of conversations so although it might feel embarrassing or awkward, they should make you feel comfortable.
💪 You are being responsible and that deserves respect!

😘 STIs are transmitted by bodily fluids and some by skin to skin contact

🍆 When used correctly, condoms do a good job of protecting against STIs. Flavoured condoms can be used for oral sex (only!), as can dental dams.

🏥STIs are either curable or manageable, as long as you get the right help, and preferably quickly!