What are sexually transmitted infections?
Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are due to bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infection passed on during sexual activity.
What are the signs of STI?
STIs can result in the following symptoms:
- Discharge from penis or vagina
- Pain when passing urine
- Pelvic or genital pain
- Lumps or swelling in the genital area
- Genital ulcers
- Genital rashes
- Anal symptoms relating to sexual intercourse
However, not all sexually transmitted infections have symptoms. See your doctor or a sexual health service after about 2 weeks if you have any of these symptoms or after unprotected sex or a change in partner.
What conditions are considered STIs?
The following conditions are considered STIs. Some may also be transmitted non-sexually.
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
- Donovanosis (granuloma inguinale)
- Hepatitis B
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Lymphogranuloma venereum
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Pubic lice (crabs)
- Sexually acquired human papillomavirus
Symptoms similar to those that are due to an STI can be due to a variety of health conditions and should be thoroughly investigated. Some genital skin conditions are not considered STIs as they are not due to infection transmitted during sexual activity. In some others, sexual activity is a risk factor (eg, bacterial vaginosis).
See DermNet's page on genital skin problems.
Sexual health services
In New Zealand, specialist confidential sexual health care is available free of charge at public hospitals. They offer diagnosis and treatment of STIs, counselling and education. Diagnosis and treatment is also available at family planning clinics and from your general practitioner.