Sexually transmitted infections are passed by genital contact or unprotected sex from one person to another. The most common is chlamydia, a bacterial infection which can be easily cured with antibiotics. There are, however, STIs which cannot be cured, such as Herpes and HIV. If you get one of these infections you will always have it.

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Risk

Even though STIgons are common and anyone of any age, race, gender or sexual orientation can get them, there is still a stigma around this subject. The first thing to do is go to your doctors or local STI clinic. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea usually requires a urine sample, whereas tests for HIV and syphilis require a blood test.

If you are diagnosed with an STI it is important that you pass this information to any recent, past and future sexual partner as soon as possible for the sake of their health.

Partners

The way you begin the conversation will depend on what you know about the other person and how you think they are going to react. Don’t do it just before you intend having sex or in a public place where there are lots of other people. Try making your disclosure part of the normal conversation. Keep calm, be direct and stick to the facts. If you have had intercourse with this partner recently you will need to advise them to get tested themselves. Allow your partner to ask questions and give them information, for example, leaflets or website addresses. Test for chlamydia by following this link https://www.checkurself.org.uk/order-a-test-kit/.

Let your partner know that intercourse will still be possible using condoms and practice safe sex techniques. Your partner may get upset and angry, but you must put yourself in his or hers shoes and imagine how you would feel. The most important thing to do is to listen to your partner’s fears and help them understand what is happening. Emotions will be running high and questions regarding trust and infidelity will have to be answered with honesty if you wish to continue this relationship.

If you think you have been infected with an STI you may also need to inform former sexual partners so that they can get tested too.

Telling your partner about STIs may be awkward but it’s the right thing to do.

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