Summer Lovin’ - Sun, Sea, Sex & STIs
Posted on 1 Aug 2018

Summer is a time of year when having unprotected sex becomes a bit more likely. Hot weather, holidays with friends, a lot of alcohol and exciting new experiences are all factors which can lead to a spike in STIs.
But don’t let having fun in the sun be an excuse for not taking precautions and getting properly checked out.
To find out more about STIs, we spoke to the team at the STI Clinic...

Signs you might have an STI

1. Pain in testicles
Any kind of pain is usually a sign that there’s a problem in the body. If you experience pain in your testicles, it could be a symptom of either gonorrhea or chlamydia. So if you notice this, it’s best to get a checkup asap. You might experience this pain when urinating or during sex, or it might just be present throughout the day.

2. Penis discharge
Discharge from the tip of the penis can be a symptom of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or urethritis. If you notice any discharge - either cloudy, white, yellow or green - it’s usually a sign that something isn’t right. If you experience any unusual discharge, go to the doctor and get checked out as soon as possible.

3. Pain while urinating
If you experience a burning sensation whilst urinating, or any pain at all, it might be a sign of an STI, including chlamydia or urethritis. If you notice this, book an appointment to rule out any possible infections.

4. No symptoms at all
Many STIs don’t display their symptoms for a long time. Some STIs take months or even years to become evident. So just because you don’t have any symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you’re not infected.  
Chlamydia has been termed ‘the silent epidemic’ because of how overwhelmingly prevalent it is, but without any obvious symptoms. Around 70% of women and 50% of men infected with the disease have no symptoms at all.

Around five percent of men have no symptoms at all when they’re infected with gonorrhea, while a person with HIV often doesn’t show any symptoms for years. Sometimes they don’t ever develop any visible signs.


If you think that there’s a chance you’re infected with an STI, it’s best to get tested as soon as possible. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear, because they might never do so.
Most STIs can be tested for via a urine sample or a urethral swab in a doctor’s surgery or at a local GUM clinic. Some can be tested via home kits.

If you have an STI, don’t panic - most can be completely cured or controlled with medical attention.

Chlamydia is treated with a course of antibiotics. If you have a partner, you should both be treated with antibiotics simultaneously, and refrain from having sex during your course of treatment (even with a condom.)
If you’ve been infected with chlamydia numerous times, you’re much more likely to suffer from long-term complications. If you contract chlamydia, make sure you take proper precautions not to get it again. The best way to do this is by using condoms. However, doing so isn’t 100% effective, so make sure you’re regularly screened as well.

Gonorrhea has now developed a resistance to certain antibiotics which were first used to treat it. There are now only a few antibiotics left that are still effective in treating gonorrhea, with an intra-muscular injection being the most common treatment. Gonorrhea symptoms usually take around two to three days to disappear after treatment. Because of known drug resistance, make sure you’re tested again two weeks after treatment, and avoid sex for at least a week afterwards.
It’s never been easier to get tested for STIs. If you’re in any doubt, get tested and rule out any possible diseases. The sooner an STI is caught, the easier it is to treat.

The above advice was given by Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, a GP and one of the medical team at the STI Clinic:


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