Today (14 January) is Sexually Transmitted Infection Questions (STIQ) Day
: a day designed to raise awareness about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), what they are, and how you can practise safe sex.
As a leading provider of sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing
– also known as sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing – we know first-hand the importance of safe sex, and the health problems that can arise when an infection is left undiagnosed or untreated.
In this blog, we explain what STIs are, and answer some of the most common questions we are asked about STIs.
What are STIs?
STIs or STDs are infections that are passed on to other people during sexual activity.
Many STIs are spread via bodily fluids such as semen or vaginal fluids. However, they can also be passed on during skin-to-skin contact.
You can catch STIs from vaginal, anal and oral sex, sexual touching (e.g. touching genitals), and by sharing sex toys.
Some STIs, such as HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis, can also be spread via blood.
What is the difference between an STI and an STD?
STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) and STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) are umbrella terms that are used to refer to infections that are commonly spread via sexual activity.
These terms can be (and often are) used interchangeably to describe infections caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites that are spread via bodily fluids (e.g. semen, vaginal fluids, blood) or during skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
The term ‘STD’, however, has become less popular over time, possibly due to the negative connotations that are sometimes associated with the word ‘disease’.
How often should I get tested for STIs/STDs?
If you are sexually active, taking an STI test is the most reliable way of making sure you’re staying safe, and reducing the risk of passing an STI onto someone else.
For people who are sexually activity, a comprehensive sexual health check is recommended once a year and should include a multi-panel test such as our 7-panel STI test
, and at least one blood test such as our Syphilis test
, HIV test
, HIV & Syphilis
or Syphilis, Hepatitis C & HIV test
If you are in a high-risk category and/or engage in frequent sexual activity with multiple partners, you may want to consider having a comprehensive sexual health check every 3-6 months.
For further advice and guidance, visit www.sexwise.org.uk
What are some common STI symptoms?
Some of the most common symptoms that have been linked to several STIs/STDs include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Unusual and/or strong-smelling discharge from the penis or vagina
- Burning and itching around the genitals
- Pain during sex
- Unusual bleeding from the vagina
For more information on STI symptoms, visit www.sexwise.org.uk
I have no symptoms – could I still be infected?
Yes. In fact, when it comes to STIs, it’s very important to remember that you can still be infected even if you are not currently experiencing any symptoms. This is known as being asymptomatic.
When a person is asymptomatic, it greatly increases the risk of infections being passed on to other people during sexual activity, as they may not know they have an infection unless they take an STI test.
This makes regular STI testing extremely important, especially for people who are high risk or engage in frequent sexual activity with multiple partners.
I think I might have an STI – where can I buy a test?
It has never been easier to keep your sexual health in check, thanks to continued innovation from testing laboratories like AlphaBiolabs.
In fact, the popularity of online tests has surged in recent years, with many people choosing to order tests online to avoid the perceived stigma associated with STI testing, and the ‘inconvenience’ of having to book an appointment with a clinic or medical practitioner.
Our state-of-the-art laboratory offers a range of home STI tests designed to give you peace of mind or to enable you to seek the appropriate medical advice and treatment for an infection.
Our STI test kits enable you to collect your own sample quickly and discreetly at home. Depending on which test you choose, you will need to provide a urine sample, vaginal swab sample, lesion swab sample, or a finger-prick blood sample for analysis at our UK laboratory.
Explore our range and order your test online here
you must be at least 16 years of age to purchase a home STI test kit from AlphaBiolabs.
STI testing you can trust
AlphaBiolabs is a long-established, highly-regarded, and accredited DNA, drug, alcohol, and health testing laboratory.
That’s why you can trust us to provide fast, accurate and reliable STI testing straight to your door.
Our STI/STD tests have been developed in accordance with the stringent guidelines set by BASHH
, and the MHRA
, so you can be sure of receiving the highest possible standard of service.
We test for the most common infections in the UK including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, mycoplasma genitalium, herpes, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, providing you with 100% confidentiality throughout the testing process.
Order your test online now
, speak to our healthcare team on 0333 600 1300 or email email@example.com
for more information.
If you are experiencing symptoms that are causing you severe pain or discomfort, or require face-to-face examination, we advise you to contact your GP or local sexual health clinic as soon as possible.
Home STI tests
Explore our full range of home STI tests, from just £28.