What are STI’s?

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) is the general term for a number of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can be spread from person to person, primarily through sexual contact. Some of the more common STIs in Australia are Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and the Human Papillomavirus (genital warts).

HIV is an STI and you can find more information about it here.

Many STIs can be stopped or reduced from spreading by using a male or female condom with water-based lubricant, dental dam or latex gloves. These methods do not stop all STIs, so it is important to pay attention to any changes such as persistent itches, blisters, rashes, or pain or unusual discharges from the penis, vagina or anus.

Because there are often no symptoms, getting a sexual health check-up is the only way to know if you have any for sure. If you think that you have an STI, get a check-up.

Some STIs can have long-term effects on your health, including damage to your immune system, becoming cancerous or even making people infertile. If you have an STI and don’t know, you might unknowingly pass it on to someone else. Only testing will let you know for sure.

If you have sex with casual partners, regular sexual health check-ups are an important part of looking after your health, and your partner’s health. The more partners you have, the more you should get tested. It is recommended that you get tested every three to six months.

The Drama Downunder website is a useful resource for understanding STIs, and especially the interaction of HIV and other STIs.

Did you know the average length of time a guy does not know he has HIV is 3 years? Find out more about testing at Time to Test.

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