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What are sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases (VD) are diseases that are passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual or genital contact. This includes vaginal, oral and anal sex.


What are the most common STIs?

The most common STIs are gonorrhoea and chlamydia. These two infections can be treated with antibiotics. They are preventable through the use of condoms, female condoms, and using other barrier methods during sexual interactions.


What can you do to try to prevent STIs?

Practicing safe sex helps prevent STIs. In order to try o prevent sexually transmitted diseases, you must use barrier methods during sexual intercourse. This includes condoms, female condoms and dental dams. These must be used during oral, vaginal and anal sex. While other forms of birth control prevent pregnancy, they do not prevent the transmission of STIs.

An important part of protecting yourself against STIs is having regular sexual health tests. For some STIs, such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia, this can be done at home. However, it is still important to be tested regularly at your local genitourinary (GUM) clinic or by your GP.


* Please note results, timeframe and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.