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The Complete Guide To STIs: How To Prevent Them, Identify Them and Treat Them

The Complete Guide To STIs: How To Prevent Them, Identify Them and Treat Them
By Balls Team
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Here at Balls HQ, we care about your sexual health. That's why we've teamed up with the HSE to spread awareness and knowledge around the areas of sexually transmitted infections (STI) so that you know how to prevent them, identify them and treat them if you have been infected.

In the past year we've all become a little bit more aware of our health and wellbeing and that same care and attention should be taken when dealing with STIs. One thing we all must remember is if you're sexually active, you could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.

There are a number of STIs that you can come into contact with. These include the likes of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. For a full list of STIs, visit https://www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/sexually-transmitted-infections/types-of-stis/.

How To Prevent The Spread Of STIs

Prevention is better than cure. Most STIs are passed between sexual partners through unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex, but some STIs are passed via skin-to-skin contact. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of STIs is using condoms (check out our complete guide to condoms here).

Condoms offer protection against most sexually transmitted infections. Another way you can prevent the spread of STIs is to ensure that you don't share sex toys. You can reduce the risk of infection by washing sex toys between uses and applying a new condom per use.

Certain STIs, like hepatitis A and B, have vaccines with can protect you against them.

In order to ensure that you don't have an STI, or if you do have one and need to get treatment, you can get an STI test.


Actually, let's talk about what an STI test entails.

Getting An STI Test

For anyone who is sexually active, it's important to get an STI test regularly regardless if you are showing symptoms or not, especially if you have more than one sexual partner.

As mentioned previously, STIs can exist without symptoms, and you can pass an STI onto sexual partners unbeknownst to yourself, so getting a test gives you that peace of mind knowing you aren't spreading the infection to others.


For men, you will be asked to give a urine sample into a small bottle. Sometimes a swab is used to take a sample from inside the top of the penis or from your throat or anus,  depending on your symptoms. Don't worry, this will all be explained to you by the doctor and nurse that will be seeing you so you're in good hands!

For women, a swab is taken from the vagina. This can be done by the doctor or nurse seeing you.

Both men and women will also have blood tests to check for viral or bacterial infections, meaning all bases are covered!


The Symptoms Of An STI

If you think you have an STI, it is important to be tested. But how will I know if I have an STI, I hear you say? Well it's not always clear when you have an STI; however, the below are some indications that you might have an STI and should get tested immediately:

Symptoms in men

  • Discharge from the tip of the penis.
  • Pain passing urine.
  • Pain or discharge from the anus.
  • Pain and swelling in the testicles.

Symptoms in women

  • Bleeding after sex or between periods.
  • Change in the normal vaginal discharge.
  • Pain passing urine or stomach pain.

What To Do If You Have An STI

It you test positive for an STI, you will be offered treatment. This type of treatment will obviously depend on what STI you have. If your STI is not treated, it can be passed on to your sexual partner (or partners).

You will have to wait until you have completed the treatment before having sex again. Furthermore, it's important that you tell your sexual partner (or partners) that you have an STI so that they too can get themselves tested.

And remember, having an STI once doesn't stop you from getting it again so if you have any of the above symptoms, your partner has an STI, you have a new sexual partner or you have more than one sexual partner, make sure to get an STI test just to be sure!


For more information, visit https://www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/sexually-transmitted-infections/


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