Sexually transmissible infections (STIs), are infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. Sexual contact includes fucking, sucking, as well as touching, fingering or kissing/licking a cock, arse or vagina.
STIs can be caused by viruses (e.g., HIV, herpes, genital warts), bacteria (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhoea), or parasites (e.g. crabs, scabies).
Some STIs show symptoms, but some do not—so if you are having sex, the only way of knowing whether you have an STI is by being tested regularly.
Most guys who have casual sex will usually get at least one STI over the course of their life. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about—it’s just part of having an active sex life.
Condoms greatly reduce the risk of getting or passing on STIs, but they don’t eliminate the risk all together, as some STIs can be passed on even when a condom is used (e.g., crabs, HPV, herpes), or by oral sex (e.g. gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes).
Regular sexual health testing is key for both individuals and the community as a whole in identifying, treating and ultimately reducing the incidence of STIs, so getting into the habit while you’re young of having sexual health checks every 3–6 months is a great way of keeping on top of things.
Telling past sexual partners that they may need to get a sexual health check can seem quite unnerving, but there are ways to do this anonymously if you need to, including asking your doctor or sexual health clinic to do it for you, and using websites like The Drama Downunder, where you can send an anonymous SMS or email to current and past sexual partners to let them know they may need a sexual health check.
HIV and STI testing services are quick, easy, non-judgemental and friendly, as they are increasingly run by community-based organisations, such as local AIDS council and LGBTI organisations who utilise gay and same sex attracted staff members and volunteers who understand the ins and outs of sex between guys.