Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are passed on during sexual vaginal and anal intercourse and oral sex. STDs sometimes cause symptoms, but the majority of cases involve no symptoms whatsoever. Being symptom-free usually results in the infection being spread to other people. Therefore, there is always a risk that the person you have sex with has an STD without knowing it. The best way to take care of your sexual health is to ensure appropriate protection and to have tests done. You should keep in mind that you might also have an infection and spread it without knowing.
Using condoms during intercourse is an effective way of protecting yourself against STDs. Condoms can also be used during oral sex. A woman receiving oral sex can use a split condom or an oral sex barrier (a dam) for protection. For men, condoms protect against STDs but are also the only way to make sure you are using reliable contraception.
Testing for STDs
STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be tested from a urine sample. The diseases that can be tested using a blood sample include HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. There is no simple test for some STDs such as herpes and genital warts. However, fluid taken from herpes blisters can be used to detect HSV using specific virus tests, and genital warts are usually diagnosed on the basis of their typical appearance.
All STDs may be asymptomatic in the beginning. You should get tested if you have the slightest suspicion you are infected. You should also get tested if you have had unprotected sex with anyone who isn’t your long-term partner.
- If you do not have any symptoms but you want to be sure, free of charge remote testing is the easiest way. The free remote testing kit gives you quick results if you suspect gonorrhoea or chlamydia. To order the remote testing kit, use the link on the right-hand side of the page.
- If you have any symptoms or if you need more extensive testing for some reason, please contact a healthcare professional who will assess if you need further treatment. Symptoms may include burning when urinating or difficulty in passing urine, abnormal discharge from the urethra or vagina, itching, stinging, bumps, blisters or ulcers around the genitalia, lower abdominal pain and fever. However, an STD infection can’t be diagnosed based on symptoms only; the diagnosis must always be based on laboratory tests.
Treatment is always decided based on the disease diagnosed.
Information sources: The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim: Terveysportti, Lääkärin tietokanta database
FSHS General Practitioner / 02 September 2018