If you had unprotected sex you are at risk of catching an STI as well as pregnancy. You must visit your nearest clinic, or talk to your GP.
We know how important it is to young people that we keep what you tell us confidential, even the fact that you contacted us. We won’t tell anyone what you tell us (including parents, teachers or your GP). There are some rare exceptions – if any of these apply to you, we will discuss it with you first.
If you’re aged from 13 to 16 and want contraception, an abortion or tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), we won’t need to share this information with any parents or carers, as long as you fully understand the advice we are giving you. However, if you are younger than 13, it’s in your best interests to involve other people, such as a social worker.
Should you tell us something that makes us think that you, or another young person, are at serious risk of significant harm, we might have to act in your or their best interests. We will encourage you to tell your parents or carers, if it’s appropriate, but the choice is yours. You have the same rights to confidentiality as an adult (someone who is 16 or over).
We give advice and information on contraception and help you make healthy choices to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What’s the difference between STIs and STDs?
An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease.
STDs and STIs are often used interchangeably and as synonyms, but they technically mean different things. We’ll dive into greater details about their exact differences below.
Technically, STIs and STDs differ– Having an STI means that an individual has an infection, but that it has not yet developed into a disease. Take HPV (human papillomavirus) for instance: Typically a woman with HPV does not have any symptoms, but she carries the virus. She has an STI; but if she develops cervical cancer from HPV, she now has an STD since cancer is a disease. The same is true for individuals who have chlamydia or gonorrhea cases that develop into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
The real question here is: What’s the difference between infection and disease? An infection is often the first step of a disease and occurs when either bacteria, viruses or microbes enter the body and start multiplying. The disruption of normal body function or structure, especially when signs and symptoms appear, is considered disease (as long as the cause is not the result of a physical injury).
This means, medically speaking, that all STDs start out as STIs. STIs that progress into disease are STDs.
The usage of STI is becoming seemingly more preferred by the health world thanks in part to a less negative stigma. STDs have been around forever– think back to junior high health classes. But the phrase “STI” doesn’t yet have the same negative connotation attached to it, so doctors and health advisors are more than happy to refer to them as infections rather than diseases.
Many STIs show no symptoms at all, so those individuals don’t know they have them. This is why getting tested is so important! STIs caused by bacterial infections can be easily cleared and cured with antibiotics, so go get tested (and treated, if necessary)!
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