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What are STIs?

An STI is an infection which is caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. You don’t need to have lots of sexual partners to get an infection. They’re really common, and a lot of people have them or have had them in the past.  

In South Africa, STIs are more common than you might think. 

In 2017 among adults, 6% of women and 4% of men had gonorrhoea, while 15% of women and 6% of men had chlamydia.

STIs are passed on through sexual contact. You can catch one if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, by genital contact and through sharing sex toys. 

Some STIs are carried in body fluids like semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and blood. Others can be passed just from skin-to-skin touching with an infected body area. 

Without treatment, STIs can lead to serious health problems including difficulty having children, cervical cancer or bad infections that spread to other parts of your body.

There are many types of STIs, but they are not always easy to spot because you may be asymptomatic (not showing any symptoms). You can also have more than one at a time!

Using condoms can help you avoid contact with bodily fluids and some types of skin-to-skin contact during sex. So, when you don’t use condoms, your chance of getting an STI goes up. Find out more about how to prevent STIs by clicking here.

How much do you know about the different STIs? We put a few of our friends to the test to find out! Watch this video to learn about the different STIs, common symptoms and treatment.

Condoms are the only way to protect against all STIs including HIV. Learn about male and female condoms and how to put them on here

Trying to decide if you should go for an HIV test? Do this questionnaire to help you decide!

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