STIs are on the rise, with around 400 cases of gonorrhoea and Chlamydia being diagnosed in 15- to 24-year-olds daily in the UK. Don’t let uncertainty or embarrassment put you off getting tested. Here’s what you should do if you test positive for an STI.
Stay Calm and Try Not to Panic
This may seem easier said than done, but try not to panic. Many STIs are treatable with straightforward medications, such as antibiotic creams or tablets. Your GP or nurse will be able to advise you on treatment and the next steps.
Get Tested as Early as Possible
Doctors and nurses are trained in these situations, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed or nervous; you should expect to be treated with respect and professionalism.
You can visit your GP or a sexual health clinic to get a simple test for sexually transmitted infections. There are also home tests, such as Home STI kits Greenwich from https://www.greenwichsexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits, that can be ordered online to give you more privacy.
Speak to Your Partners
Having an STI means it’s possible your partner or previous partners who you have been intimate with may also be infected. It may seem embarrassing, but they need to know so that they can be tested themselves and prevent further spread of infection. A sexual health clinic may be able to help here should you feel unable to do it yourself, either by making a call for you or referring you to a text service that can alert current or former partners anonymously.
Avoid Sex When Infected
While an infection is present it’s important to refrain from any kind of sexual activity. This includes oral sex, which is a common means for the likes of herpes, syphilis and gonorrhoea to be passed on. A break from sex will prevent further spread of the STI while giving your body time to work with any treatment you’ve been prescribed.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
There are lots of myths around STIs, so it pays to learn the facts. For instance, being on the pill does not prevent STIs, and so it’s important to also use a condom. Openness and honesty in current or future relationships are recommended, so make sure your partner has also been tested and talk about protection.