Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do not get symptoms, so it's worth getting tested even if you feel fine. If you think you have an STI, the earlier you're tested, the sooner treatment can be given if it's needed.
An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. STIs can pass between men and women, and from women to women and men to men.
Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, have no cure, but can be treated to prevent them getting worse. You cannot tell by looking at someone (including yourself) whether they have an infection, so it's important to get a check-up if you have had unprotected sex or think you might be at risk.
Many people do not notice symptoms when they have an STI, including most women with chlamydia. If it's left untreated, chlamydia can affect your ability to get pregnant. Gonorrhoea can also affect fertility. Around 50% of women and 10% of men with gonorrhoea do not have symptoms. Left untreated, STIs can affect your health. Some symptoms do not necessarily mean you have an STI, but it's worth seeing a doctor so you can find out what's causing the symptoms and get treatment.
Have safer sex
Always use condoms to help protect yourself from catching or passing on an STI. Buy condoms that have the CE mark or BSI kite mark on the packet. This means they have been tested to high safety standards. Condoms that do not have the CE mark or BSI kite mark will not meet these standards, so do not use them.
Where can I get tested for STIs?
You can get tested at:
- a sexual health clinic
- some community contraceptive clinics
- some GP surgeries
- some pharmacies can also test for chlamydia
Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health Services (WISHS)
Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health Services (WISHS) are delivered by Spectrum Community Health CIC and provides free testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), access to a broad range of contraception, and advice on preventing unplanned pregnancy.
The type of support on offer includes:
Access to pre-booked appointments and walk in clinics.
A main hub in Wakefield city centre and a number of youth outreach clinics across the district.
Online and telephone booking system.
Relationships and Sex Education Advice in schools and colleges.
Local and national campaigns.
Trinity Walk Clinic, Trinity Walk Shopping Centre, Wakefield, WF1 1QS
Telephone: 0800 121 4860
HIV Prevention and Support
Yorkshire Mesmac provide HIV Prevention and Support Services targeting individuals at increased vulnerability to the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) in the Wakefield District. The key groups at increased vulnerability to HIV include men who have sex with men (MSM), Black African communities, community sex workers and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) young people and adults.
Mesmac work to tackle stigma associated with HIV in ways that reduces discrimination and raise awareness of STIs and HIV, routes of transmission, testing, treatment, Pre-Expose Prophylaxis (PREP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis following Sexual Exposure (PEPSE), safer sex and locally accessible sexual health services.
The type of support available includes:
Access to HIV Testing (and other STI testing) in a range of settings.
Access to timely treatment and management of STIs
Provision of free condoms, lubricants and other safer sex resources
Advocacy for people living with HIV (their carers, partners or families) to facilitate access to services and other support services
If you would like to find out more about different options of contraception available and which is right for you, visit contraception choices. There is also a range of information on the Spectrum website, including details of the C-card scheme which enables you to access condoms for free if you are 16-25 and live in Wakefield District.
If you would like to discuss your options in more detail or make an appointment for contraception, contact your GP or the Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health Service (WISHS).