If you are sexually active it is important to get regular checkups for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Getting a checkup helps to protect your sexual and reproductive health and protects any partners you have from getting an STI.
11 reasons to go for an STI checkup
1. STI are common
STIs are extremely common. Even if nobody is talking about it, it’s pretty likely that at least one of your friends has had an STI at some stage. Having an STI is nothing to be embarrassed about. All it means is that you caught an infection and need to get treated.
2. Many STIs do not show symptoms
As so many STIs don’t carry any symptoms, it can sometimes be impossible to know if you actually have one. If you have ever had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex you are at risk of contracting an STI and should take the time to get checked.
Even if you practice safer sex and are in a monogamous relationship, just one quick instance of unprotected oral sex is enough to catch an STI.
3. STI checkups are quick
Getting tested does not take long and should take less than an hour out of one evening or morning of your week, and some clinics can even offer you results on the same day. You can now also test at home for free if you live in certain counties in Ireland.
4. STI checkups are available around Ireland
There are several STI clinics around Ireland that provide STI tests for people of all genders and sexualities, so you’re sure to find one that suits you.
5. STI checkups are free
There are plenty of free STI clinics around the country. Before you visit one of these clinics, be sure to check whether or not you need to book an appointment first, or whether there are specific walk-in hours.
6. STI checkups are painless
You might have heard rumours that getting an STI test is sore. That’s totally false – STI screenings are quick to carry out and are completely painless.
7. A check can give you peace of mind
If you ever feel even a little bit worried that you’ve maybe caught something, getting tested is the only way to put your mind at rest.
8. You can avoid spreading an STI
There are some STIs that have no symptoms, so it’s possible to have an infection and not realise it. This means you could be passing on an STI to someone else. By getting tested, you can know for sure that when you have sex, there’s no chance of you passing on an STI to your partner.
9. It’s a great way to be open with your partner
While it may feel awkward to have a conversation about STI testing with your partner, it can be a great way of being open with each other. Getting tested together can also help you to feel more comfortable discussing sex and your sexual health with them. Getting tested at the beginning of a relationship is a good idea, as one of you may have an STI from a past sexual relationship, and this way you can know your status from the start.
10. You can help protect your health
Most STIs are totally harmless if you treat them on time. However, if left untreated, they can cause infertility and even damage your internal organs, and that’s certainly worth avoiding.
11. Treatment is easy and takes no time at all
A lot of STIs can be treated with a quick course of antibiotics. Symptoms clear up very quickly, and you’ll be all clear within a few weeks. No matter what STI you may get there is treatment available.
Getting tested is normal. Find out where you can get a full sexual health screening here.
Find out what it’s like to go to an STI clinic:
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you’re over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.