STIs stands for sexually transmitted infections. They are passed from person to person through sexual contact or skin to skin contact.
The most common STIs in Ireland are Chlamydia and Genital Warts.
Someone can get an STI from having sexual contact or skin to skin contact with a person who is already infected with an STI.
The only way a person knows for sure that they have an STI is if they go to the doctor or to a special STI clinic to get checked out.
You cannot tell just by looking at someone if they have an STI. Some STIs have no symptoms at all and some may lie dormant for many weeks or months before becoming visible.
Some STIs can be cured and some STIs, such as HIV, cannot be cured. All STIs can be treated with medication.
Yes, a person can get an STI any time they have sex and their chances are greatly increased if they have unprotected sex (if they don’t use a condom).
Condoms will dramatically decrease the chances of someone getting an STI such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and HIV, however they do not offer complete protection from infections that are spread through skin to skin contact, such as herpes, syphilis and genital warts.
No, you cannot catch STIs from toilet seats.
If you are aged 18 years of age or under you can attend the Young Persons Clinic at St. James’s Hospital. To make an appointment call 01-4162315. You will be seen and treated confidentially. However if the clinic staff feel that you or another person is at risk they may need to discuss the matter with other professionals. The clinic staff do not inform parents of young people aged 17 years and over. However all young people aged under 17 years are encouraged to bring a parent or guardian with them when they attend the clinic. Get a list of STI Clinics around the country.
These questions were asked by teenagers during the consultation. The answers are provided by Sandra Delamere, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Young Person’s Clinic, St. James’s Hospital.
Further information on the different types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are available on www.thinkcontraception.ie however please be aware that this site is targetted at sexually active 18-24 year olds.