Your sexual health check-up is done and dusted; well done!
The results have just come in and…
You’ve found out you have a sexually transmissible infection or STI.
What are you going to do? Bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away?
Just because it’s something that people can get from sexual activity, it’s still just an infection.
Yep that’s right, it doesn’t have to be a big deal.
STIs like chlamydia and herpes are common, especially in young people and they don’t discriminate. Anyone having sex can get one.
The good news is that most are curable and ALL are treatable.
Now before you start playing the blame game, remember STIs don’t always have easily recognisable symptoms or any symptoms at all. Many people don’t even know they have one unless they’re smart like you and get an STI test.
So here’s what to do…
You’ll need treatment whether you have symptoms or not, to avoid passing the infection on to your sexual partners. They’ll need to be tested too and possibly treated to avoid passing it back to you or to another partner.
It’s a good idea to chat to your doctor as they can help you understand things like:
- the infection
- the treatment and follow up required
- who you’ll need to tell
- what this means for your sex life
Of course they’ll keep your diagnosis confidential and give you the best treatment options available.
Talk about it
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to tell to your sexual partners so they can be tested and treated.
While it can feel awkward and embarrassing, it shows you care. You are letting them know so they can take care of their sexual health too.
That’s not to say it will be easy. It should be as simple as telling them you have a cold, but it can often feel a little daunting. For advice on how to tell your partners visit the let them know website.
And just because you have or have had an STI, doesn’t mean your sex life is over. People infected with an STI still have awesome sex lives and great relationships.
Talking about STIs with future partners, using condoms, and if you have herpes taking prescription medications to manage outbreaks and communicating openly are some of the ways to ensure everyone is on the same page and taking care of their sexual health.
During and after treatment, you’ll need to press pause on sex for a moment.
Your doctor will advise for how long. This is to make sure that you don’t pass the infection on to your sexual partners as well as keeping it from being passed back to you.
But once you have been given the all clear by your doctor, put a plan in place to prevent STIs in the future.
Talk to your partners about STIs and testing, always use a condom during vaginal or anal sex to reduce your risk of infection, and get tested at least once a year.