Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)Overview

If you're worried you have got an STI, go for a check-up at a sexual health clinic as soon as you can.

STI symptoms

  • unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • pain when peeing
  • lumps or skin growths around the genitals or anus
  • a rash
  • unusual vaginal bleeding
  • itchy genitals or anus
  • blisters and sores around the genitals or anus

Important

Don't have sex, including oral sex, without a condom until you have had a check-up.

You can have an STI without knowing it and infect your partner during sex.

Go to a sexual health clinic if:

  • you have symptoms of an STI
  • a sexual partner has symptoms of an STI
  • you're worried after having sex without a condom

Many STIs have no symptoms at all, like HIV. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Find a sexual health clinic

Why you should go to a sexual health clinic

You can see your GP, but they'll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you may have an STI.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system. You can usually turn up without an appointment.

You'll often get test results quicker than from your GP and you won't have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

You don't need to give your real name or tell staff who your GP is if you don't want to.

No information about your visit to the clinic will be shared with your GP or anyone else outside the clinic unless you ask for it to be.

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse if you wish.

What happens at a sexual health clinic

A doctor or nurse:

  • will ask you some questions about your sex life
  • may ask to take a look at your genitals or anus
  • will tell you what tests they think you need

Some clinics offer home testing kits for some STIs.

If tests show you have an STI, you should tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well.

If you don't want to do this, the clinic can usually do it for you without naming you.

Common types of STI

Page last reviewed: 08/04/2018
Next review due: 08/04/2021