Sexual Health

Health and wellbeing

Sexual Health and STIs

STIs are infections that are contracted through intimate sexual contact. They commonly affect the genitals, anus or mouth and may cause discharge, sores, growths or rashes.

Unfortunately, STI microorganisms can severely impair both male and female fertility. Pelvic scarring and damage resulting from an STI is usually asymptomatic. A woman may have no symptoms and may be completely unaware that there is a problem.

Common STIs

The most common STIs are Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes, Syphilis, genital warts, Hepatitis B or C and HIV.

Candida or thrush is very common in the vagina. It is not generally regarded as an STI, but it can be passed from women to men and cause a rash or itching.

Bacterial vaginosis is a condition where the balance of normal bacteria in the vagina becomes altered, leading to a vaginal discharge and odour. It is not sexually transmitted but it is associated with sexual activity and is often worse after sex. It can lead to problems in pregnancy.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a term used to describe an upward-travelling infection in the female body that results from vaginal intercourse with an infected partner. The infection travels up to the uterus and Fallopian tubes and can cause pelvic damage.

The most common organisms which cause pelvic inflammatory disease are STIs such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.

If a woman gets one Chlamydia infection she will have up to a 25% chance of developing pelvic damage, which can affect her fertility.

If she has subsequent and repeated infections, the chance of these problems increases dramatically. The amount of damage is likely related to the length of time the woman has the infection.

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