What is an STI?
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections that are transmitted between partners during sexual activity. You can contract an STI through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has an STI. STIs may eventually progress to become Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). STIs and STDs may go undetected due to the patient being asymptomatic (i.e. they don’t show any symptoms).
Look out for common signs of infection
Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have signs and symptoms in common. Although not a diagnosis, looking out for these symptoms can help you assess your health and determine your next steps:
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge––in terms of smell, texture, volume, or color.
- Lumps, skin growths, or warts around the genitals.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding.
- Itchiness around the vulva.
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms also overlap with other conditions such as UTIs and yeast infections, and should only serve as a general guideline.
Many STIs are asymptomatic
Many STIs can lie dormant in your body for months or years before causing symptoms. For example, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and HIV can all be asymptomatic upon transmission. You can also unknowingly transmit an STI to a partner if you are asymptomatic.
Leaving an STI untreated can cause serious health issues in the long run, including pelvic inflammatory diseases and infertility. Timely diagnosis and treatment is key to prevent any complications and limit any transmission.
Testing is key
There is no certain way to know if you have an STI without getting tested. Testing will allow you to receive any necessary treatments and prevent further transmission. Additionally, make sure to openly communicate with your partner(s) as well so they can get tested.
If you think you may have an STI, you should reach out to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. You can book a teleconsultation with an Ease physician at any time––we offer judgment-free, discreet care and treatment for your sexual health. You can also consider booking an STI test with us and get checked for a range of different STIs. Our STI tests can be taken in the comfort of your home or you can walk into one of our partner clinics.