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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

An STI, or sexually transmitted infection, is basically any kind of bacterial or viral infection that can be passed on through unprotected sexual contact.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had sex or how many partners you’ve had; anyone can get an STI.

Signs and symptoms: STIs don’t always have noticeable symptoms so after having unprotected sex, it can be easy to be in denial and just hope you’ll be ok. But you should always get yourself tested as soon as possible so that you don’t pass anything on or cause yourself long-term harm. You may also need to consider emergency contraception to protect yourself from pregnancy. If you do have a symptom, you can use our STI tool below to see what it could be caused by.

To protect yourself from STIs you need to use a condom or female condom every time you have sex. Condoms are the only method of contraception that protect against both pregnancy and STIs. Even if you're using another method of contraception, like the pill, to protect against pregnancy, you should still use a condom as well. 

Nervous or embarrassed about getting tested? It's really common to feel nervous at the thought of getting tested but don’t worry, most infections are easily treated. Read our page on visiting Brook services to understand more about what might happen when you go for a test. You will probably find that most sexual health clinics work in a similar way.