Providing sound advice on how to stay safe when having sex is an essential part of my role as a GP and this is often done opportunistically when appropriate. It is important that you are aware of the basics regarding sexual health in order for you to make informed choices regarding your sexual activity. By ensuring that you are sensible and follow a few basic rules, you can drastically reduce your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or STI. I have created a few videos answering questions that I have been asked by patients in the past and I certainly will be looking to add to them in the coming months.
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What is an STI?
An STI is a disease that is contracted through sexual activity, usually through unprotected sexual intercourse. There are number of sexually transmitted diseases, these include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, genital warts, HIV and some of the hepatitis viruses. Unfortunately STI symptoms may not be obvious so you may not even know that you have become infected with these diseases and it certainly may not be obvious in anyone that you have sex with. These infections when left untreated can cause chronic pelvic pain, infertility, damage to your liver and in the case of HIV have lifelong health implications as it is currently incurable.
It is important that you consider having an tests for STIs if you are intending on having unprotected intercourse with your partner. Both you and your partner need to be checked and then you will need to use barrier contraception, which is essentially condoms until both of your test results return, negative. The NHS runs a National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP), which is a free urine test for chlamydia for anyone 25 years old or younger. Sexual health screens at various clinics are also free on the NHS and the results are kept strictly confidential, not even your Doctor will get copies of your test results.
I have created a number of videos to advise on sexual health topic as I feel it is a really important part of your health to get right. If my videos and advice above have prompted further questions, let me know! Like us on Facebook and write your query on our wall or fill out our clinical query form in contact us. All of your questions will be used to create relevant and informative video and editorial content. We apologise that we cannot respond to any question directly.