STIs are infections that can be spread by sexual contact (vaginal, anal or oral) and some, like herpes and warts, can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact

Common STIs in Australia include:

Some STIs have no symptoms so you won’t know you have them. Young people are especially at risk of an STI called chlamydia. If chlamydia is left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease with can cause infertility.

Most STIS are easily treated so it's important to have a test for STIs if you have had unprotected sex or think you have any symptoms. These tests are quick and painless and can be free of cost.

Symptoms of STIs in women:

  • an unusual vaginal discharge
  • a sore, lump, wart, blister or rash around the genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • pain when passing urine
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • painful, irregular periods
  • bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse

Symptoms of STIs in men:

  • a discharge from the penis or rectum
  • a sore, lump, wart, blister or rash around the genital or anal area
  • an itch or soreness of the penis
  • pain when passing urine
  • painful or swollen testicles
  • abdominal pain

Any genital change – such as an ulcer – or symptom that appears and then settles without treatment should be reported to your doctor; this may indicate the presence of an STI such as syphilis. Untreated this could lead to significant health problems.

Remember that condoms are the only form of contraception that will protect you from STIs and an unplanned pregnancy.