STIs

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed on from one person to another when having unprotected sex or through genital touching. Unprotected sex might have happened because you've forgotten or chosen not to use a condom or the condom might not have worked (for example it slipped off or got damaged during sex). If you’ve had unprotected sex, you might have an STI and not know it because some people with STIs don’t experience any symptoms. Most STIs are easy and painless to get treat if you find out about them quickly. But if you leave them, they can get serious and can even make you infertile.

You'll find more information about all of these infections in this section and what to do if you think you might need to get tested.

In this section
  • Types of STIs

    We've got information on the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV. Some infections and conditions can be passed on during sex or are caused by existing STI’s but are not technically classed as STI’s themselves. They can still seriously affect your health so it’s really important to be aware of these too. You'll find more information on all of these infection in this section. Here’s what you might be dealing with.

  • Other infections

    Some infections and conditions can be passed on during sex or are caused by existing STI’s but are not technically classed as STI’s themselves. They can still seriously affect your health so it’s really important to be aware of these too. These include bacterial vaginosis, molluscum contagiosum, public lice, scabies and thrush.

  • Avoiding STIs

    If you are worried about catching an STI you can find our best preventative advice, depending on the type of STI, on the individual STI pages. But here is what we would recommend as best practice when practicing safe sex.

  • Worried about STIs

    If you're worried you might have caught an STI, don’t panic. You can book an appointment in your local sexual health service (which might be a Virgin Care service) and we have plenty of information to help you practice safe sex too.

  • Ordering STI postal tests

    You can now order free confidential STI tests by post for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis if you live within one of our service areas, are over 16 and don’t have any symptoms.

  • Telling your partner you have an STI

    If you have tested positive for an STI, you need to tell your sexual partner(s) so they can also be tested. Your sexual health service (like those run by Virgin Care) will be able to offer you help with this if your need it.

    Young man looking worried sat on the edge of the bed with their partner in the background
  • Preparing for an STI appointment

    Going to an STI appointment may seem like a nerve-wracking experience, but don't worry everyone is welcome and we won't judge you. If you want to feel more prepared though, here's what you can do to prepare, questions to expect and questions you might want to ask.

    Female Patient in waiting room
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