The most common way STIs are transmitted is through vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom. If you have unprotected sex, a simple test may be all you need to ensure you are in the clear. Learn more about safe sex. Early screening enables quick treatment and has in some cases literally saved lives.

It is important to know what to look out for so we have dedicated a page to different types of STIs. Some STIs, like Chlamydia are known as ‘silent STIs’ because they can have no symptoms (but can still be transmitted it to others). Some can even lie dormant for years and, if left unchecked, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease which in turn can lead to infertility. So even if you don’t have any obvious signs, never assume you’re off the hook. On the other hand, just because you’ve got an itch it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an STI. This is one reason why it is important to get regular Pap Smears (recommended once every two years and every time you change sexual partners) when you are sexually active.

To make sure your sexual health gets the stamp of approval, it’s worth checking it out at your local family planning clinic or by visiting your doctor, as symptoms may vary from person to person. Find your nearest doctor for a check up here.
For a list of STIs, their symptoms and how they can be treated, visit Types of STIs.

What are STIs?

STIs or sexually transmitted infections are nasty infections that are passed from one individual to another through sexual intercourse. This includes penetrative sex (vaginal, anal and oral) as well as some forms of foreplay such as genital touching.

Some STIs can be passed through skin-to-skin contact; others require contact with infected body fluids such as blood, saliva, vaginal secretions or semen. Some STIs can be passed from mother to child during birth.

How Can I Protect Myself from STIs?

Use a condom when having vaginal, anal and even oral sex. But remember, there are a few STIs which can be passed on without any sexual contact (such as Crabs which can be passed on by sharing the same bath towel, sleeping in the same bed and close skin-to-skin contact)!

You may only need to have sex once before you contract an STI (yes, it happens!), so it is not safe to think that just because you have only been with one person, that you are not at risk of being infected. Get yourself and your partner tested before having unprotected sex. If you are both free of an infection and you don’t have other sexual partners, then you could be safe. Keep in mind that some STIs may take months to show up on a test and may show no symptoms; this is why it is SO important to wear a condom, for your sake and your partner’s…. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, WEAR A SNAKE!

STIs are more common than you think…

  • Since 2000, rates of Chlamydia notifications have tripled and in 2007 alone there were over 52,000 notifications. 13,000 (or 1 in 4) were recorded for males and females aged 19 or under!
  • New HIV diagnoses in Australia increased by 31% between 2000 and 2006!
  • 1 in 8 Australians has genital Herpes and most are unaware they have it!
  • In 2007 there were 8,172 notifications of Gonorrhea – indicating a rise of over 75% in the last 10 years!