STI Risk Factors
What behaviour puts you at a greater risk of an STI?
One of the key processes of an STI Consultation is understanding the probability of catching an infection and which one(s) is more likely. As a result, you can choose appropriate tests to make sure that everything is fine with your sexual health.
Note: Most STIs go undetected. That means you might have (and pass on) an STI without knowing it.
STI vs STD: A Quick Note
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is when a bacteria or a virus gets into a body – it can be present in the body without any symptoms.
An STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) is used when the STI (or infection) starts to exhibit signs or symptoms.
On our website, we will use STI (instead of STD) to ensure simplicity, unless stated otherwise.
The risk of catching an STI is not the same for everybody
In order to understand the risk of your exposure, we may try and determine whether you have engaged in any of the following activities (in no specific order):
- You (or your partner) have multiple sexual partners
- You (or your partner) pay for sexual activity
- You (or your partner) have had an STI in the past
- You (or your partner) are a Man who has Sex with other Men (MSM)
- You (or your partner) engage in ChemSex
- You (or your partner) are an Intra-Venous Drug User (IVDU)
- You (or your partner) have engaged in sexual activity with someone with an STI
- You have had unprotected sex with a new partner
- You (or your partner) have unprotected sex with someone born outside of the UK in a high-risk country (the prevalence of STIs varies from country to country)
For Women, we advise further caution by ensuring you get tested (as appropriate) without delay. The key reason is that you may be subject to more serious consequences by leaving an STI untreated. This may include problems like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), infertility and complications during pregnancy.
For men with male partners, the presence of other STIs increases the risk of acquiring HIV when exposed to it. To avoid this, regular check ups are recommended (as appropriate).
The factors above are just some of the important risk factors specialists consider. As an STI may be present in your body without symptoms, to make sure you are fine it is also important to ensure the right tests are selected, at the right time.
This will be discussed in your consultation, with tests and treatment also available as appropriate.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Can I discuss my risks with a sexual health clinician?
What tests will I need?
If I'm at high risk, can you offer prevention?
- Hepatitis A vaccine
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- HIV PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) – taken within 72 hours of exposure