If you have met a new sexual partner or partners, you should get checked for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), regardless of your age.

Getting an STI check is your choice. But getting one will save you wondering and worrying if everything is okay, and any infections that are found can be treated and managed.

Maybe your last STI check was 15 or 20 years ago before your situation changed, or maybe you’ve never had one.

There are some options for you:

  • you can order a postal kit to test for HIV at home
  • please consult your doctor
  • UK - come to an NHS sexual health clinic
  • Belgium - consult the Helpcenter (Antwerp) or the S-Clinic (Brussel) on testing for STIs.

Questions

“I am worried about something…”

Did you or they forget to use a condom, or did the condom split?

Has something happened that you later regretted?

Contact your GP or your local NHS sexual health clinic – they will be able to listen to your concerns and advise you.

“I had sex with someone new...”

Unless you know for certain that you and your new sexual partner have been recently tested, are negative for STIs and have been practising safe sex since being tested - you could be at risk of an infection.

In an ideal world if condoms or other barrier methods are used each time you have sex this would reduce your risk of getting an STI, or reduce your risk of passing on an STI to someone else. It also of course reduces your risk of an unplanned pregnancy!

It's easy to get carried away ‘in the moment’ and forget about STIs, but it’s important to stay safe as you can.

 “Something isn’t quite right down there...”

If you get any of these symptoms, speak to a health professional:

  • Discharge from your penis, vagina or anus (a small amount of white or clear discharge is normal).
  • Pain when urinating (weeing) or ejaculating (when you have an orgasm).
  • Pain during sex.
  • Blisters or sores on your vulva or penis.
  • Itching or a rash.
  • Bleeding during or after sex.

Some symptoms may not be related to sex, for example, not all vaginal discharge means that you have an infection and sometime an itch ‘down below’ can be related to a skin condition.

It’s worth getting checked, just in case.