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Different types of sexually transmitted diseases cause different symptoms to develop and in some cases, there are no obvious symptoms. This is why it is important to go for regular sexual health checks if you are having unprotected sex or sleeping with different partners.

Many symptoms that are associated with sexually transmitted infections are also linked to other health conditions so the development of symptoms may not indicate that you have a sexually transmitted infection, however, it is always a good idea to get checked out.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Women

●      Unusual vaginal discharge, which may be green or yellow in colour

●      Pain during or just after sex

●      Bleeding between periods

●      Unpleasant smelling discharge

●      Pain in the lower abdomen

Men

●      Discharge from the penis

●      Swelling of the foreskin

●      Itching or irritation of the urethra

Men and women

●      Pain during urination

●      Itching or tingling around the genital area

●      Blisters, sores or lumps around the genitals

●      Spots around the genitals

If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, do not panic and don’t be embarrassed, just arrange to go and see your GP. In the vast majority of cases, antibiotics can cure infections very quickly and easily. If an infection is left untreated, it may get a lot worse so it is always best to try and have a test as soon as possible and then suitable treatment can be given.

Some infections, such as chlamydia, do not cause symptoms in some people, so it is important to have a sexual health test if you have had intimate sexual contact or sexual intercourse with somebody. It is also advisable to have an STI test if you are planning to become pregnant.

Where can I go for an STI test?

You can go to your GP’s surgery, your local sexual health clinic, your local GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic or a community contraceptive clinic for an STI test.

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