Sexually Transmitted Infections
These are also known as STI’s. They are common and many people don’t know that they have them as they may not have any symptoms. They can easily pass from person to person, especially if you have sexual contact without using a condom and not knowing if either of you have an infection. If they are left untreated they can cause problems in the future such as infertility problems in women and prostate and testicular problems in men. The tests are easy to perform and the treatments usually simple.
Where can I go to get an STI test?
How can I catch an STI?
- Any sexual contact without using a condoms puts you at risk of picking up an STI, including oral and anal sex.
- It is a good idea for you and your partner to get tested before you start a sexual relationship and to be retested with any new partners.
- Condoms are recommended every time you have sex, unless you have a regular partner and have both been tested.
What are the symptoms of an STI?
You may not have any symptoms and they can take weeks or months to develop. The symptoms differ depending on the STI- more details below
- If you have a vulva, STI’s can present with a vaginal discharge, soreness, irregular bleeding or sometimes itching. Sex may become painful. Some infections can cause lumps, ulcers or blisters of the skin and pain on urinating. More serious infections may also cause abdominal pains and a high temperature.
- If you have a penis you may find it painful to urinate or have a discharge from the tip. There may also be lumps, blisters or ulcers. More serious infections can cause testicular pain and swelling.
Other parts of the body can be affected such as throat, rectum and eye
- throat- often no symptoms
- rectum- anal discomfort and discharge
- eye- redness, swelling, discharge, irritation
- joints- pain and stiffness
- skin- rashes
Where can I go to get tested?
If you have any of the above symptoms or are concerned or would just like a test, then you can go to:
Orchard Centre telephone 227707 or message via Facebook messenger @OrchardCentreGuernsey
What tests might be offered?
If you don’t have any symptoms you will be offered
- chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing and
- a blood test for blood born Viruses (hepatitis and HIV) and syphilis.
The chlamydia and gonorrhoea test is a urine sample for men and either a urine sample or self taken swab for women. The swab is more accurate than a urine test in women.
Transgender people will be offered appropriate tests for the genitalia that you have along with a urine sample.
You need to have not passed urine for 1 hour prior to collecting the urine sample.
If you have had oral or anal sex these sites will also need testing with a throat swab or a self taken anal swab.
If you have symptoms the tests recommended will depend on what those are.
- You may need to be examined and have skin swabs taken if you have any rashes, lumps, blisters or sores.
- Women may need a more thorough examination and other swabs taken from higher inside the vagina and around the cervix.
- Men will need a swab in addition to a urine sample if there is any discharge from the tip of the penis. Please contact Orchard Centre to arrange this.
How long does it take to get my results?
Most blood tests, swabs and urine samples will be back within a few days.
Some tests, especially viral swabs, take much longer and can be several weeks.
How will I get my results?
When you register at Choices you will be asked how you prefer to be contacted.
If you have chosen to be texted, you will receive a message to contact the clinic to receive your results- this is to protect your confidentiality.
You can also phone the clinic for your result during our opening hours on 714954 or 07781 103434.
What treatment will I need?
This will depend on the STI.
The treatments are detailed under the individual STI (see below).
You may need to abstain from all sexual contact, including oral sex, for a time after your treatment to ensure it clears and clinic staff will make sure you know what you need to do.
You will need to repeat you treatment if you vomit within 2-3 hrs of taking it so please contact the clinic if this happens.
We will also need to know if you have any medical conditions, other medication or allergies before a prescription can be given.
How will I know the treatment has worked?
Modern treatments are very effective at clearing infections.
For certain infections a repeat test to make sure the infection has cleared is recommended and staff will make arrangements for this.
If you have been treated for chlamydia, we recommend a further test in three months’ time.
If your symptoms haven’t settled or you are worried you may have picked up another infection then please see either your GP or come to either the Orchard Centre or Choices clinics for a check up.
I've been told by a partner that they have an STI?
If a partner has told you they have an STI then you may have picked this up and be infected and at risk of passing it to others.
You may not have any symptoms but it is still advisable to be tested.
Choices offer treatment to anyone who may have been in contact with Chlamydia
The Orchard Centre offer treatment for Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HIV contacts and assessment for Hepatitis contacts
How can I protect myself and stop this spreading to others?
Practicing safe sex and using a condom every time is the best advice.
The other way to reduce the number of people infected by STIs is to try and contact partners so that they can be tested and have treatment.
If you know who your partners have been and you are happy to contact them yourself then that is very useful. If you would prefer not to then both the Choices clinic and Orchard Centre (sexual health) offer anonymous contact tracing where your name would be kept confidential. Our staff will discuss this with you.