Sexual health and contraception
An STI, or sexually transmitted infection, is any kind of bacterial or viral infection that can be passed on through unprotected sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had sex or how many partners you’ve had and anyone can get an STI.
The signs and symptoms
STIs don’t always show symptoms and if you have unprotected sex, you should always get tested as soon as you can. This is to check whether you need to be treated and to make sure you don’t pass anything on to other sexual partners.
You might also want to consider emergency contraception to protect yourself from pregnancy.
Contraception refers to methods that are used to prevent pregnancy. Contraception is free on the NHS for all ages so you don’t have to worry about paying anything. You can get free contraception from a range of places including GP surgeries, GUM or sexual health clinics and family planning services.
There is also a type of contraception called emergency contraception that can be used for up to 3-5 days after unprotected sex, to prevent pregnancy.
Remember, even if you’re using contraception, unprotected sex always puts you at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).