Valentine’s Day – STI Advice


Valentine’s Day can be full of roses and romance, but it is not a time to get carried away with casual sex and get a STI. Of course, if you have a long-term partner and have an active sex life based on trust and knowledge, there is no real problem in expressing your feelings.

There is a variety of STIs (sexually transmitted infections), some of which can be cured relatively easily, but some are much more serious and can result in severe illness, or even fatalities. Enjoying yourself is one thing but causing yourself harm after sexual intercourse with a stranger, can open the door to a lot of health problems and anxiety that they potentially cause. There is no earthly reason to expose yourself to this risk when there is so much help and advice to hand.

Practising safe sex

You probably have heard it all before, but STI occurrences can be all but avoided by practising safe sex. However, there is no such thing as a guarantee other than abstinence, which is no fun for anyone, particularly if you are in a loving relationship.

Safe sex should not be confused with birth control, as certain methods of birth control can still run the risk of contracting an STI. The contraceptive pill, IUD (intra uterine device), a cap or a ring will still expose women to catching an infection transmitted by a male partner. Condoms also provide limited protection from STI.

The only way to prevent an STI is not to get carried away with unfamiliar partners – keep yourself safe.

I am worried I may have an STI

If you have experienced a carefree night and thrown caution to the wind, you may well be worried as you will not have known your partners’ sexual history.

Not all STIs have symptoms, in fact the majority do not. The only way to counterbalance the worry, is to have an STI screening, which can put some people into a flat spin due to embarrassment explaining this to your family doctor. If you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection, getting it checked out is the only solution – not just for you but for those you may have intercourse with, in order to prevent it being passed on. If you are very sexually active, having a screening every six months is advisable.

STI or STD testing is not normally painful, and honesty is the best policy when speaking to your medical professional about your concerns. There is no ‘blanket test’, so it’s best to answer the questions of your GP truthfully (even if you gulp at the thought of it), so he or she can determine the right testing for you.

Testing can usually involve a urine sample, blood test, mouth swabs or swabs taken from the genital area. Sometimes a GP may be able to tell you immediately, but other times it can take a few days or so. It may be something simple to treat, so try not to worry and pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to get tested.

I really can’t face my GP about STI

So, if you had a short moment of madness on Valentine’s Day or any other time of the year, there is help readily available, if you really cannot face your own GP.

There are specialised clinics, known as GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) or SRH (Sexual and Reproductive Health) who offer testing facilities, advice and some even offer free contraceptives such as condoms or ‘the morning after pills’. Condoms are obviously beneficial before the event, but contraceptive pills will not protect you against STI. Information and location of your nearest clinic is accessible on the internet.

Testing in the privacy of your own home

If you find it a daunting prospect to discuss your fears face to face with any medical professional, there are many home testing kits available to you online.

This type of testing is discreet and faceless, even though at some point you would have to visit a doctor should the results be positive. The STI kits are sent to your home address in a plain envelope, so not even the postman will be able to discern what is going on. You are required to fill in an online questionnaire, so that the correct kit is sent out to you. A blood sample with a simple pin prick in your finger, a swab or a urine sample will be asked for. You then return them to the clinic and wait for your results, which can take up to 10 days.

The best medical service for prompt advice and confidence is about discreet, confidential advice and treatment for those problems that may cause you embarrassment. This service is available online by experienced medical professionals at the touch of a button – the perfect solution in real time with a highly qualified team of experts.

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