Many STIs don’t show symptoms.
It’s alarming that some STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV, often don’t show or have any symptoms at all in the beginning. And even though you feel perfectly fine, you could still pass an STI on to someone else if you have unprotected sex.
“Symptom-free” doesn’t mean “infection-free.”
It’s no secret. Having unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex increases your chances of getting an STI. Some STIs show signs like unusual discharges, burning while you urinate or genital warts. But other STIs don’t have obvious symptoms. You can have an STI without knowing it.
Not sure? Make sure. The only way to be 100% certain is to have an STI test. If your partner tells you he or she has an STI, ask for the name of the infection. Then go to your doctor or sexual health clinic for testing and treatment. Testing is easy and free.
Breathe a sigh of relief. Most STIs can be treated. But the best solution is to prevent getting an infection in the first place.
See your doctor or sexual health clinic if you notice:
- An unusual or smelly discharge from the vagina or penis
- A rash, sores or itching on or around the genitals
- Burning or discomfort when peeing
- Pain in the abdomen
How do I tell my partner?
If you have an STI, you can’t keep quiet. Tell your partner(s).
If you have concerns about telling your partner(s), contact a public health nurse. The public health nurse can suggest ways to handle the situation or they will contact your partner(s) for you. Of course, your name will be kept confidential.
If you decide to talk to your partner(s) yourself, learn how to talk comfortably about it.