Sexually Transmitted Infections are caused by close sexual contact and exchange of bodily fluid (vaginal secretions, semen, blood, breast milk).
Every sexually active individual is at risk.
Risk factors include: - no. of partners - unprotected sex - already having an STI - nature of sexual activity (oral/vaginal/anal)
STI's are most prevalent among young people.
Many STI's have NO SYMPTOMS.
Symptoms can include: - Pain passing urine / during sex - Abnormal discharge - Odour - Itch / Rash - Sores on / around genitalia - Abdominal Pain
Long Term complications & possible consequences can include Infertility, Impotence, Cancer, Heart problems and even Death.
Abstain from intercourse Limit your number of partners Use a condom - only one at a time, and only with water-based lubricants Use a dental dam for oral sex Find out your partners sexual history Be hygienic - urinate & wash genital area post sexual activity Don't share sex toys / injecting equipment Get your health checked regularly.
Local free sexual health services are available in Dundalk Louth County Hospital on Tues 2-4pm and Fri 1.30-4pm, Monaghan Hospital Tues 9.30-11am and the Lourdes Hospital Drogheda on the 1st and 3rd Fri of the month 9-11am. Confidential appointments are made by calling the clinic phone 086 8241847.
Name of Infection
What is it?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV):
Vaginal infection causing smelly discharge and discoloration.
The vagina normally has a balance of mostly "good" bacteria and fewer "harmful" bacteria. BV develops when the balance changes. With BV, there is an increase in harmful bacteria and a decrease in good bacteria.
Sharing toys between partners without use of condoms or cleaning the toys.
Touching own genitals then partner’s.
Use condoms on sex toys.
Clean fingers in hot, soapy water before touching self or partner.
Keep fingernails short.
Use latex gloves and lube.
Crabs and lice
Small lice that live in the pubic hair. These cause inflammation and irritation.
Through close body contact, usually during sex with an infected person.
Lice can be spread through infected, shared bedding and clothing.
Difficult to prevent, but maintain high levels of cleanliness
Non prescription lotion or specialised cream
Bacteria in bladder and urethra causing burning when urinating, frequent urination, aching in lower abdomen and back
Wiping from back to front after using toilet.
Common in all women regardless of sexuality.
Use lubricants for sex.
Urinate a.s.a.p. after vaginal sex.
Clean fingers and toys of moving between anus and vagina.
Wipe front to back after toileting.
Use latex gloves
These are fleshy growths in the vulva and anal region. This can appear on the skin anywhere in the genital area as small whitish or flesh-coloured bumps, which can develop into larger, fleshy, cauliflower-like lumps. They may be itchy but are usually painless. There are no other symptoms of genital warts, but if a woman has a wart on her cervix she may experience slight bleeding or unusually coloured vaginal discharge.
They are caused by certain strains of human papilloma virus (HPV)
Usually sexually acquired through skin contact, such as rubbing vulvas together.
There are a variety of treatment options, including freezing and medicated creams.
Virus that affects the liver.
Can be spread through sex which involves oral to anal contact (rimming).
Use latex dams or cut up condoms when rimming.
Immunisation available, no medicated treatment.
Easily transmitted via shared toys, oral sex and possibly rimming, sharing needles and razors.
Use latex dams or cut up condoms for oral sex and rimming. Do not share needles and razors.
No specific medical treatment. Healthy diet and rest may help recovery. A vaccine to prevent is available.
Route into blood stream, easily transmitted via intravenous needles.
Don’t share works (needles, etc).
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Wart virus which can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts – different wart strain from those found on the rest of the skin Usually the virus goes away on its own without causing harm. But not always.
Genital to genital contact (unlikely that warts on hands can be transmitted to genitals).
Lesbians and bisexual women can transmit HPV through direct genital skin-to-skin contact, touching, or sex toys used with other women
Avoid genital to genital contact.
Regular smears to detect any pre-cancer
The Pap test checks for abnormal cell growths caused by HPV, this is a DNA test that detects most of the high-risk types of HPV. Lesbians who have had sex with men are also at risk of HPV infection, this is why regular Pap tests are just as important for lesbian and bisexual women as they are for heterosexual women
There is no treatment for HPV, but a healthy immune (body defense) system can usually fight off HPV infection. If you do get HPV, there are treatments for diseases caused by it. Genital warts can be removed with medicine you apply yourself or treatments performed by your doctor, or by freezing and burning. Cervical and other cancers caused by HPV are most treatable when found early. There are many options for cancer treatment. Since 2008, two vaccines have protected against the several kinds of HPV that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer.
Inflammation of the urethra, can be caused by bacteria, virus or parasite
Burning sensation when urinating, cloudy white discharge from vagina, urethra or anus.
Depend on causes, usually antibiotics
Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV):
Symptoms include a frothy discharge, discomfort when passing urine (ithching, burning), vulval soreness, and sometimes an unpleasant vaginal odour. Some women don’t have any symptoms.
It can be passed between women during any sexual activity that involves the exchange of vaginal fluid.
Use dental damn.
TV is treated with antibiotics, anti parasitic tablets.
Small parasitic organism causing irritation of the vagina.
Symptoms include: Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge (often foamy) with a strong odor; Discomfort during sex and when urinating; Irritation and itching of the genital area; Lower abdominal pain.
You can also get it from contact with damp, moist objects, such as towels or wet clothes.
Tablets by mouth.
Vaginal infection causing itchiness and irritation. It is caused by Candida. Symptoms may include vulvae and vaginal itching, swelling, irritation, redness, pain and soreness on penetration, burning when passing urine and a thick, white discharge. It can be painful and uncomfortable to live with.
Cream or prescription/over the counter.
For more information, check out our page on Clinics, Screenings and Helplines, or through the listing of health organisations on our links page.
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