You may have been informed that a sexual partner or ex-partner has got an STI (sexually transmitted infection) and you may have been put at risk, so you require treatment. This can come as a shock, whether you hear it directly from your partner, an ex-partner texts you or you receive an anonymous text from a Sexual Health Clinic.
But it’s better to know about this than be kept in the dark. STIs may or may not cause symptoms, but they can put you at risk of longer-term problems such as ongoing pain or infertility, and there are reliable treatments available. By getting treatment, even if you have no symptoms, this will protect you and future partners.
If a partner has said they have an STI, it’s best to get this checked out and get treated – a Sexual Health Clinic is the best place for this. Look online for services near you, and feel reassured that it’s all confidential.
STIs are contagious, so you should be up front with any current partners and avoid sex until treated. The clinic can advise you on timings.
If you have one partner and they has an STI that has been treated, avoid sex or use condoms until seven days after you have both been treated.
Make an appointment with your Sexual Health Clinic (or doctor, if they offer these services), who can test you for STIs. For men, this will involve a urine test and blood test, for women it’s a self-taken vaginal swab and a blood test. Blood tests test for other STIs, namely syphilis and HIV, and possibly hepatitis B if you are assessed as at risk.
Samples will be taken but you will be given immediate treatment before results come back. Treatment for common STIs – genital herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea – respond to a short course of antibiotics, as they are bacterial infections.
The clinic will discuss any positive test results with you. If you have tested positive for gonorrhoea, you will be asked to re-test via a urine result two weeks after treatment. There's no need for a re-test with a positive chlamydia result. The clinic will discuss potential sexual contacts that may have been put at risk with your STI, and will discuss how to inform them – either anonymously or directly from you – to encourage them to get treatment too.
If you have a current sexual partner or partners, you should use condoms or wait until for at least seven days since you have both been treated before having sex. Thereafter it is recommended to have
If you receive a negative result, you’ve already received treatment just in case, and there’s no need to inform any sexual partners or abstain from sex.
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