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STIs - What you need to know

Did you know? STIs are really common. Many have only mild, few or no symptoms. One in two sexually active young people will get an STI by the age of 25, however most will not know it.

STIs can affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and from all walks of life.

Most STIs are curable, and the rest are manageable with good treatment and care.

Some STIs can cause serious health problems though, so it can help to know the facts so you can protect yourself:

  • STIs are passed from one person to another during sexual contact

  • STIs can be passed without ‘having sex’, through intimate bodily rubbing and shared bodily fluids

  • STIs often cause obvious symptoms which alert you that you may have an infection, however, many people with STIs have no signs or symptoms so are unaware they are infectious

  • STIs can infect many areas of the body—the genital and anal area, mouth and throat.

  • The best protection from STIs is condoms (external and internal) and dental dams. You can learn more about condoms and dental dams soon, but first,check out what the Real Sex Talk Team have to say about sexually transmissible infections. 
The REAL sex talk- Sexually transmissible infections
Methods of contraception

How are STIs spread?

STIs are usually spread through sex - vaginal, oral or anal.

STIs can be spread through any type of sex: from a male to a female, a female to a male, a male to another male or a female to another female.

Some STIs can be spread through any contact between the penis, vagina, mouth or anus, even if there is no penetration. For example, genital herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact, and can be transmitted even if there is no penetration.

Some STIs can be spread in other ways also. For example, HIV and Hepatitis B are spread through sharing needles for injecting drugs or medicines.

STI myths and facts

There are LOTS of misconceptions when it comes to STIs. Check to see what’s true and false about STIs here: