Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the nhs.uk website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.

This Week - X : Xtra Nasty STIs

If you're worried you have got an STI, go for a check-up at a sexual health clinic as soon as you can.

STI symptoms

  • unusual discharge from the penis or anus
  • pain when peeing
  • lumps or skin growths around the genitals or anus
  • a rash
  • itchy genitals or anus
  • blisters and sores around the genitals or anus

Important

Don't have sex, including oral sex, without a condom until you have had a check-up.

You can have an STI without knowing it and infect your partner during sex.

Go to a sexual health clinic if:

  • you have symptoms of an STI
  • a sexual partner has symptoms of an STI
  • you're worried after having sex without a condom

Many STIs have no symptoms at all, like HIV. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Find a sexual health clinic

Why you should go to a sexual health clinic

You can see your GP, but they'll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you may have an STI.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system. You can usually turn up without an appointment.

You'll often get test results quicker than from your GP and you won't have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

You don't need to give your real name or tell staff who your GP is if you don't want to.

No information about your visit to the clinic will be shared with your GP or anyone else outside the clinic unless you ask for it to be.

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse if you wish.

When to get help

Go to a sexual health clinic if:
  • you have symptoms of an STI
  • a sexual partner has symptoms of an STI
  • you are worried after having sex without a condom
Many STIs have no symptoms at all, like HIV. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Do not have sex, including oral sex, without a condom until you have had a check-up.

You can have an STI without knowing it and infect your partner during sex.

Find a sexual health clinic

What happens at a sexual health clinic

A doctor or nurse:

  • will ask you some questions about your sex life
  • may ask to take a look at your genitals or anus
  • will tell you what tests they think you need

Some clinics offer home testing kits for some STIs.

If tests show you have an STI, you should tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well.

If you don't want to do this, the clinic can usually do it for you without naming you.

Common types of STI


We'll have more information and advice next week on another topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We have covered many subjects in this series and you can catch up with all of our Previous A to Z Features.

If you want to find out more about this week's subject you can visit the Original article on the NHS website. If you are worried by any aspect of your health make sure you go and see your doctor or book an appointment at your local clinic.

Photos: LightFieldStudios and one of VladOrlov, Stockcube, darak77 or ajr_images.

 

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