A little Intro
No one really talks about it, but sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are really common among young people in Australia. Anyone who is sexually active runs the risk of getting an STI – that’s just reality.
The good news is, if you use a condom when you have sex you can massively reduce the risk of an STI. Make sure you chat to your doctor about any concerns or symptoms you might be experiencing. Most STIs can be tested for and most STIs can be treated with no dramas whatsoever.
So what exactly is an STI?
STI is short for sexually transmissible infection. Put simply, it means infections that are passed from one person to another by having sex (including oral and anal sex) and sometimes through direct contact with genitals. If fluid is swapped from one partner to another (vaginal fluid, blood or semen) then you are at risk.
STIs are caused by bacteria or a virus, and as we mentioned above, are really, really common. But, if left untreated, they can cause some serious problems including infertility. That may not sound like a big deal now but it could affect your future choices and relationships, so keep it in mind.
You’ve probably heard the term STD, or sexually transmitted disease, being used by some people, especially the media. This is because the term STD was used like we use STI today. A few years ago, STD was actually replaced in Australia with the new term STI or sexually transmissible infection. Why? Because STIs have no symptoms and can be cured, which the term STD did not really cover. The best form of protection against STIs or STDs is condoms.
How do you protect yourself from STIs?
It’s pretty common for someone to have an STI and not know about it. Or they might even be showing minimal symptoms and not realise what’s going on. That’s why it’s so important to use a condom every time you have sex. Get into the habit of taking one with you when you go out, keep one in your purse or wallet, and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about using protection.
A great way to look after yourself right now is to pay a visit to your doctor and get tested. That way you’ll know if you have an STI and are at risk of spreading one. And if you change partners, how about suggesting you both get tested to put your minds at ease?
Find out where you can get tested using your suburb or town – it will give you a full listing of your closest doctors and sexual health clinics