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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed on when you have unprotected sex, or other close sexual contact with another person.

Have unprotected sex and you could be sleeping with everyone your partner's ever slept with.

Common STIs include

Other infections that can be triggered by sexual contact include:

In Northern Ireland, rates of some STIs have increased over the last ten years. It is important to get tested if you think you have put yourself at risk. Most STIs can be treated easily. If left untreated, STIs can lead to health issues in the future.

The information on this section is for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional.

What are the signs and symptoms of STIs

Many people with STIs don’t have symptoms, so it is worth getting tested if you think you have put yourself at risk. For a woman, signs and symptoms may include:

  • a change in discharge from the vagina;
  • pain or stinging when passing urine;
  • itchiness, soreness or redness in the genital area;
  • swelling of the genitals;
  • blisters, ulcers or warts around the genital area;
  • bleeding between periods;
  • bleeding after sex;
  • pain having sex;
  • abdominal pain.

Often women have no symptoms - that’s why it’s important to have a check-up if you have had unprotected sex.

For a man, signs and symptoms may include:

  • discharge or pus from the tip of the penis or anus;
  • pain or a burning feeling when passing urine;
  • itchiness, soreness or redness around the penis or under the foreskin;
  • blisters, ulcers or warts around the genital area.

Men should try not to pass urine for at least an hour before attending the clinic for a check-up. This will help with tests to find out if there is an infection.

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