About Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Most sexually active people will catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) once in their life.

You can get a free STI or blood borne virus (BBV) test from your regular GP or local sexual health centre. Most STI tests are a simple urine sample or swab, while others require a blood test. All BBV tests require a blood test.

Most STIs or BBVs can be cured with treatment. Testing regularly for STIs and BBVs will protect your health, especially if you have sex with different partners without using condoms. When you receive a diagnosis, treatment and following your doctor’s advice will protect your health and prevent further transmission. Untreated STIs and BBVs can lead to serious health outcomes.

When you are diagnosed with an STI or BBV, going back through your previous sexual and/or injecting partners within the timeframe relevant to that STI or BBV means you can let them know they might need to be tested and possibly treated as well. This process is called contact tracing or partner notification. This process reduces the risk of reinfection to other partners and health complications.

If you’re living with HIV, there can be extra health risks with getting an STI or BBV. These infections manifest differently for people living with HIV and the treatment can be different. The symptoms of some STIs and BBVs can be serious if your immune system is challenged with other infections. For people on effective antiretroviral treatment and maintaining a stable CD4 count, testing and treatment of an STI is usually routine.

Further Information

Positive Life Factsheet bit.ly/about-STIs