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It might start as an itch or a rash. Maybe you’ve got some gross goo, or your downstairs smells a bit iffy. STIs are common, generally a lot less scary than you think, and are usually very treatable if you get on it early. Even if you used a condom you should book a free appointment at Student Health with each new sexual partner, or go to the Family Planning clinics on Victoria or Willis Street and get check-ups (free if you’re under 22). Your clinician will ask you about various risk factors and give you the corresponding tests. Males will most likely be asked for a pee sample or swab, and females will usually get a pelvic exam or do self-swabs. It should all be quick, easy, and painless.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in NZ. Most people get no symptoms, but females might experience discharge, bleeding, tummy pain, or pain when peeing or having sex. Males may get discharge or pain when peeing.
Gonorrhoea is the second most common STI in NZ. If any symptoms appear, they will be very similar to chlamydia.
Syphilis usually appears as a painless ulcer which can progress into a rash, and more serious symptoms may develop if left to progress.
The cold sore virus causes herpes and is interchangeable orally and genitally. While some people may never get an attack, those who do will get painful blisters or sores. It is only during an attack that a person can be tested for herpes, meaning that most people don’t know they have it. The virus cannot be cured but can be kept at bay with medication. It’s important that you have no sexual contact with your partners just before, during, or immediately after an attack, as this is when you are the most infectious.
Sex is fun, but you have to be careful when you’re exchanging bodily fluids. Plus it’s completely irresponsible (and gross) to keep sharing your junk around if you have one, or even suspect you might have one. Get to the clinic—it’s free for fuck’s sake!