An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, it can easily be spread through unprotected sexual contact including oral, vaginal or anal sex, genital skin contact, contact with bodily fluids of someone carrying the infection, sharing unsanitised sex toys or used needles, some can even pass from the pregnant mother to the baby. STIs are fairly common, with as many as 1 in 4 of you contracting one, and you can be exposed to them irrespective of the number of sexual partners you have.
The most common STI, in the UK. It affects people of all ages but is most common in young women aged 15-24. You may show no symptoms or very mild ones, sometimes the symptoms may take weeks or even months to appear. If left untreated, it can spread to the fallopian tubes or uterus and also cause PID.
The second most common STI in the UK. Symptoms usually occur within two to 14 days after exposure. However, some people never develop noticeable symptoms.If left untreated, it can also spread to the reproductive organs and cause PID, pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
HSV-1 is mainly transmitted orally, whilst HSV-2 is sexually transmitted and causes genital herpes. An estimated 3.7 billion people under age 50 (67%) have HSV-1 infection globally, while 491 million people aged 15-49 (13%) worldwide have an HSV-2 infection. Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after. There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed with effective treatment, but if untreated it can cause serious health complications for immunocompromised people. Genital herpes during pregnancy can in rare cases cause neonatal herpes. Most strains do not affect chances of conception, however, some more serious strains can cause infertility or pregnancy loss.
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a significant global health concern, including in the UK. It's primarily transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk from an infected individual. Initial symptoms of an HIV infection can resemble flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue and sore throat. However, these symptoms may not manifest immediately, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms for many years. The virus attacks the immune system, progressively weakening it. In advanced stages, if left untreated, HIV can progress to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). While antiretroviral therapy (ART) can control the virus and slow down the progression of HIV, there is currently no cure. For individuals with HIV who desire to have children, it's crucial to consult healthcare professionals who specialise in HIV care. With proper medical guidance and advancements in medical technology, options such as assisted reproductive techniques and medication can help reduce the risk of transmission to partners or unborn children.
Symptoms usually start as a painless sore typically on the genitals or mouth. It spreads from contact with the active sores or from a pregnant mother to her baby. After the initial infection, it can remain inactive for decades before becoming active again. If left untreated, it can affect the brain, nervous system and cause heart problems. In severe cases, it can be fatal. You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you have been treated for it before.
It is contracted through infected bodily fluids or passed from mother to child during delivery. It affects the liver and can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver. It often does not cause any obvious symptoms in adults, and would usually resolve within a few months on its own. Those with the virus are 1.6 times more likely to experience infertility.
It is the most common bacterial infection, associated with bacterial vaginosis. Its common symptoms are a white or grey vaginal discharge with a strong fishy smell, however, some may experience no symptoms. Bacterial Vaginosis is not an STI, but is most commonly caused due to sexual activity, and can put you at higher risk of contracting an STI.
70% of affected people display no symptoms, but can still pass it on to your partner. It is not thought to affect fertility but puts you at higher risk of contracting another STI, and may cause pregnancy complications.
A fairly new STI, that often comes with very mild symptoms or none at all, making it all the more important to get tested. If not treated properly, the bacteria causing it can become resistant to medication, making it difficult to treat, which and may also lead to PID and infertility.
It is the bacterial infection of the urinary & reproductive tract, sometimes causing discharge and pain when urinating. The infection can also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth. In most cases, it shows no symptoms. A study found that a particular Ureaplasma known as Ureaplasma urealyticum is seen more often in women with unexplained infertility.