Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) fall into four categories: Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi. Each produces different symptoms and need different types of treatments.
Don’t stress. You just need to follow the straightforward advice to keep yourself and your partners safer and minimise the risks.
To keep yourself and your partners safer simply follow these basic steps and remember, no one is immune to catching an STI.
1. Use Condoms - sick of hearing it maybe, but the message hasn’t changed. Condoms are the most effective barrier to avoid getting another guys cum, blood, or shit near any of your bodily entrances, this includes arse, mouth, eyes. The most risky thing you can do is to bottom without a condom or PrEP, this puts you at 7 times the risk for HIV!
If you are a resident of the boroughs of Greenwich or Medway, you can order condoms for free
2. Test regularly to detect STIs earlier rather than later (at least every 3 - 6 months). The earlier an infection is caught, the easier it will be to treat, and the less time it will have to affect your body.
3. More fucking = More testing: it’s simple the more people you have sex with, the more you need to test for STIs
If you are a resident of the boroughs of Greenwich or Medway, you can order a home test kit which you can use to send samples back to us by post for testing. You'll get your results by text, so you don't need to do anything more than just take the samples for us and put the kit in the post.
If you are not from the Greenwich or Medway areas, why not visit the Pitstop Clinic. We run a walk-in clinic on a Wednesday evening where you can test for STI's and pick up free condoms and lube. Unfortunately though it's best to go to an actual GUM clinic if you have symptoms, as we don't see patients who are already showing signs of an infection.
4. Know about PrEP. PrEP is a medication that HIV negative guys can take to prevent HIV from entering the body - to learn more about PrEP check out the link to our Health and Wellbeing page.
5. Know about PEP. PEP is a medication that can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure to help prevent contracting HIV – The sooner you get PEP, the better chance it has of working. PEP is available at GUM clinics and A&E departments.
6. Get your partner/s tested – It is common for people to contract HIV and other STIs from partners they love and care about. Roughly 1 in 3 guys with HIV believe they caught it from their boyfriend. Your heart can be dumb – use your head (the one on top of your neck) and get your partner/s tested before you decide to ditch condoms. Even then, remember, they may not have the same ideas about monogamy that you do.
Some STIs will be ‘in your face’ and there is no avoiding that something ain’t right down there – while others are more behind the scenes and therefore can allow you to pass on an STI without knowing. This is why you need to test regularly for STIs, even if you have no obvious symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
- Dribbly willy, any smelly cloudy or yellow discharge coming from your dick or pain when you pee.
- Any blisters, sores, warts, itchiness, rashes, lumps, or bumps around your dick and arse.
- Fever, swollen glands (especially in your groin), flu-like symptoms.
Don’t self diagnose – just get tested as soon as you have any concerns or if you know you have been exposed to risk.
If something doesn’t seem right, don’t worry yourself sick over it, just go and get it checked out.
If you have symptoms go to a GUM clinic to get it checked out.
Time periods between the time when you have sex and potentially contract an STI to the point where they become detectable by a health screening are called Window Periods. These time periods vary depending on the type of infection you may have contracted.
Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea
Normally this infection can be detected in your urine, throat or arse after 2 weeks.
This infection is normally detectable in your blood after 4 weeks (although if you have been exposed during the last 72hrs and were not using PrEP, you need to go to a GUM Sexual Health clinic or to Accident & Emergency and get PEP immediately).
We recommend you test about 6 weeks after you believe you may have been infected with Hepatitis B, again this is by blood test. Hepatitis B is preventable by vaccination and we offer this service at the Pitstop Clinic on Wednesday evenings.
After 6 to 12 weeks, Hepatitis C infection can be detected in your blood samples.
Blood tests for Syphilis infection are most reliable after 12 weeks have elapsed, beyond the point where you became infected.