Where can I get information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?

This section of the website provides information about some of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) experienced by gay and bisexual men. Not everyone will experience symptoms when they have an STI. You may have no obvious symptoms, maybe some mild symptoms or even some severe symptoms. The best way to prevent HIV is by using condoms and lube for anal sex although condoms will not always prevent you getting some of the STIs listed below. So, even without symptoms, you may still have an STI and still be able to pass it on. Only by getting yourself checked out will you know. If you think you might have an STI, get a check up at Steve Retson Project or Sandyford. Click Services for check up options.

How are STIs passed on?

Sexually transmitted infections are infections that are passed on by close body contact, or the exchange of body fluids like saliva, semen (pre-cum and cum), anal mucus or blood.

Higher risk for STIs

  • Anal penetrative sex
  • Oral penetrative sex

Lower risk for STIs

The following are very low risk but some infections that can be passed on in this way

  • Rimming (oral stimulation of the anus)
  • Kissing
  • Touching

Practicing safer sex and having regular check ups are ways to ensure you enjoy healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable sex throughout your life.

How often should I get checked?

If you're sexually active, especially if you're having sex with multiple partners, you should have regular check ups for STIs every 6 months. Even if you have no symptoms you could still have an STI and the only way to know is to go for a check up. If you're in any type of new relationship, it's a good time for you and your partner to get a check-up. You or your partner may have picked up an STI from a previous partner. Regular testing is also recommended if you're having sex outside the relationship.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of STIs?

  • Discharge or pus coming from your penis or anus
  • Pain or discomfort when you’re passing urine
  • Sores or blisters on any part of your penis, anus, genital skin or mouth
  • Unusual lumps, bumps or warts on any part of your penis, anus or genital skin
  • Pain in your testicles(balls)
  •  Itchiness in the genital area
  • Unexplained rash in your genital area or body in general
  • Pain when you have sex 
  • Fever, swollen glands (especially in your groin or neck), flu-like symptoms, or unexplained tiredness or weight loss or change in bowel function(diarrhoea, constipation, blood or mucus discharge from anus

If you have any of these symptoms, you should arrange to get a check up straight away at Steve Retson Project, or any Sandyford service.

What STIs do I need to know about?

  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia
  • Syphilis
  • HIV
  • Genital herpes
  • Genital warts
  • Hepatitis B

Where can I get help?

If you think you might have an STI, get a check up at Steve Retson Project or a Sandyford sexual health service. Click on the services link for check up options.