Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed on through intimate sexual contact. Common STIs include Chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea. They can be passed on during vaginal, anal and oral sexual intercourse as well as through genital contact with an infected partner.
Most STIs vary in their symptoms however common symptoms such as cystitis, a change in vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain or the occurrence of small spots or lumps inside the vagina or on the vulva would be suggestive of an STI.
Most sexually transmitted infections are initially diagnosed on presentation of symptoms and then formally through blood, urine and vaginal swab tests.
Most sexually transmitted disease can be treated using either a single dose or course of antibiotics. As STIs are easily passed on through sexual contact if you have a positive diagnosis it is important that your current or past sexual partners are notified and treated in order to reduce the risk of spreading and re-infection. Prevention is better than treatment and practising safe sex is the most effective way of preventing sexually transmitted infection. The male condom is the most effective method of preventing STIs.