Sexual Health FAQ’s

Can all STI’s be treated?

Most STIs can be treated with antibiotics or lotions. That’s why it’s important for a person to go to a clinic if they think they’ve been at risk. The earlier they go, the easier it will be to treat.

There is no cure for HIV, though there are drugs which delay its development and relieve symptoms.

Can people get STI’s from toilet seats?

It is not possible to catch an STI from a toilet seat. Or from sharing cups, or swimming pools, or holding hands!

Can I get an STI if i just have oral sex?

Many of the common STIs can be passed on this way, such as Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Herpes. There have been a few cases of HIV having been passed on via oral sex. Most of the other STIs are more infectious than HIV though. Condoms or dental dams should protect against most STIs being passed on via oral sex.

Can you get STI’s through hand jobs or fingering?

Having a wank by yourself is about as risk free as sex can get. Wanking with someone else isn’t much riskier.

Fingering as a solo activity is just as risk free as wanking is. If you invite someone else along for the fun there if a chance of some STI’s being passed on such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.

Will I always know when I have an STI because it hurts when I pee?

Some STIs don’t have any symptoms. Or someone might have symptoms which then disappear. This doesn’t mean the STI has gone away! So they should still get checked out.

Can I only get one STI at a time?

False. If someone has one STI, they are more likely to catch or have another one because the vagina or anus may be damaged by the STI making it more susceptible to other infection.

Someone might think they have only one STI, but in fact have another one that doesn’t have any symptoms. That’s why it is so important that someone who might have been at risk of infection gets checked out.

Will condoms protect me from catching all STI’s?

If used correctly and consistently, condoms can protect against STIs, but there is still a small risk that an infection could be passed on (for example, genital warts are around the genital area, therefore a condom would not necessarily protect that area although using a condom would certainly reduce the likelihood of transmission).

How much is too much sex?

If it hurts, stop. Same goes for masturbation.

I don’t sleep around does this mean I won’t get any STI’s?

Someone could get an STI from having unprotected sex just once. If someone is having unprotected sex with lots of different partners this will increase their chance of getting an STI.

Will an STI go away by its self?

Even if the symptoms go away, the STI will not have gone. An STI will not go away until it has been treated. If left untreated it can cause more difficulties and health problems, such as affecting fertility.

Do only gay men get HIV?

Anyone can get HIV if they have had unprotected sex. The latest national HIV statistics show that there are more new diagnoses in heterosexual people than in gay men.

Can you get STI’s from kissing?

There are some infections that can be passed on through kissing. If someone has any soars or cuts around their mouth best avoid kissing them till its cleared up.

Can I get an STI on the pill?

The pill is a great way to prevent unwanted pregnancy however as a method for stopping STI’s it’s about as effective as a chocolate tea pot.

The best and most effective way to prevent most STI’s is the trusted condom.

What happens at a GUM screening?

Where your tests are taken from depends on the sexual history that you will have discussed with the doctor. You may have one or more of the following tests, depending on what infections you are being tested for:

  • Urine test (try not to go to the toilet for two hours before the test);
  • Samples for various infections from the urethra, vagina, cervix (neck of the womb), throat or rectum. These are sometimes called swabs.
  • The doctor may use something called aspeculum to examine female patients.
  • Blood tests (for syphilis);
  • HIV testing is routinely offered in most GUM clinics. You may want to have one depending on your concerns and sexual history. You will probably be referred to a sexual health adviser to discuss this issue further or to answer any questions you may have.

Do lesbian and bisexual women need to worry about sexual health just as much as gay and bisexual men?

The risks for women are different but women should still be concerned about their sexual health. There are still nasty STI’s that can sometimes cause permanent damage if left untreated. The best way to ensure sexual health and happiness is using protection and regular checkups, once a year should be enough depending how sexually active you are.

What percentage of the UK population is HIV positive?

Around 86,500 people were living with HIV in the UK at the end of 2009. A quarter of those were unaware of their infection. Almost 40% of those were men who had sex with men.

Brighton and London have highest rates of HIV in men who have sex with men. In Brighton and London 1 in every 7 are thought to have HIV, many of these do not know they have it.

I like sharing my sex toys, can I get an STI?

Depending on how sex toys are used, they can come in contact with vaginal fluids, cum, blood, or faeces. And because each of these things can carry diseases, it’s a bad idea to share sex toys without taking proper precautions. These precautions can be as simple as putting a fresh condom on your toy before passing it on to the next person.

Sex toys should be cleaned regularly this can be as simple as warm water and soap. If you’re not sure how best to clean you sex toys there’s normally information available on the manufactures website. Or you can look here.

Where can I get free condoms?

If you are aged between 13 and 25, you can get free condoms from loads of places throughout the city if you have a c-card! They are free to anyone living in Brighton & Hove.

A full list of where to access c-card and free condoms here.

What is a c-card?

If you are aged between 13 and 25, the c-card scheme allows you to pick up free condoms from loads of places throughout the city after you join up. It’s kind of a like a coffee-club card, but for condoms!

Can I get pregnant standing up?

Yes, yes you can.

Is there any treatment for HIV?

There are many different medications available to treat HIV. Most of them involve talking one or more pills daily or even more often than that.

There are even treatments available that can prevent HIV after you have been exposed. It’s called PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)

Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking about PEP:-

  • It could stop someone getting HIV
  • It involves taking anti-HIV drugs for 4 weeks
  • Itmust be started as soon as possible after unsafe sex or a condom not working – and definitely within 72 hours (3 days)
  • There are side effects
  • PEP isn’t guaranteed to work

PEP is available at any sexual health clinic and at hospitals in the A&E department.