Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs that very often does not have any symptoms. If you have symptoms, you might feel pain or burning sensation in your genitals when you pee or notice an unusual discharge from your genitals (secretions). If you are man, you can also have swollen testicles. This STI can be quite serious if it’s not treated early and may stop a girl from being able to fall pregnant. It can also prevent a man from fathering a baby. This is called infertility.
This is a very common STI. If you have symptoms, you may feel a burning sensation in your genitals when you pee or when you have sex.
If you have symptoms, you may feel pain when urinating. You may also notice an unusual discharge from your penis or vagina (green, whitish or yellow and foul smelling). A man can have swollen testicles as well. You can also get gonorrhea in your throat from oral sex without protection.
The symptoms of syphilis are often mild and difficult to recognise. They also change over time, coming and going. The main first symptom is a small, painless sore that you might not even notice, usually on the penis, vagina, or around the anus, or sometimes in the mouth or on the lips, fingers or buttocks. Usually there is only one sore, but some people have several. You may also have swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits.
The above STIs are fixed by a course of antibiotics from your clinic. The STIs below are treatable but cannot be cured. Viruses often remain in your body once you get them, although sometimes your body can rid itself of the virus on its own:
Genital Herpes: (her-peas)
This is a very common STI. You may know you have it from the itchy and painful sores that look like pimples around your genital area. You can pass it on to others even when you don’t have symptoms. It will always live in your body but there are medicines to make you more comfortable when you have an outbreak.
HPV: (or genital warts)
You may notice small little bumps around your genitals. It’s best to have this treated as soon as you notice the warts because some types can cause cervical cancer in women. You can get vaccinated against HPV now.
Hepatitis B and C
Hepatitis B or C can make you feel tired, generally unwell, nauseous, feverish and you may lose your appetite. Your skin or eyes may turn yellow. If your body isn’t able to fight it off, you may develop chronic hepatitis that can cause liver disease.
There are usually no clear signs you have HIV, although many people feel like they have the flu two to six weeks after they are infected. When this goes way, there are usually no symptoms for many years. HIV attacks the cells of your immune system – it enters them and turns them into an HIV making factory, before killing them. Your immune system (the cells that fight sickness) gets weaker and weaker. It’s best to get tested regularly to find out if you have HIV. By the time you have symptoms of the virus, your body could be very weak.
Sex is fun – but it can also be risky. If you are worried that you may have an STI, you should visit your clinic and get a free health check. Your health is important. Take care of yourself and your sexual partner by testing for STIs and HIV.
Are you worried you may have an STI? Get to a health facility and check it out. Then get medication to fix it. Ignoring it is not a solution.