GMFA Sun, sea, sand, sex and STIs A holiday can occasionally see you arrive home with more than a tan (or sunburn) and some souvenirs. 18% of you told us in our summer holiday survey that you have come back from a holiday with an STI. The top five STIs from our survey were: Chlamydia - 32% Gonorrhoea - 26% HIV - 6% Syphilis - 6% Crabs - 5% What are they? What are the symptoms? How do you treat them? Here’s everything you need to know: 1) CHLAMYDIA Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. It’s most commonly passed on by fucking or getting fucked without a condom, but it can also be passed on by sucking or rimming. One to six weeks after being infected, it can cause a yellowy white discharge from your penis or, more rarely, from your arse or throat – the three most common places to catch it. You may also have pain when urinating. However, many infected guys don’t show any symptoms at all, but are still infectious, so they can pass it on to other sexual partners without knowing it. Chlamydia is usually treatable with antibiotics. You then need to avoid sex until the treatment is finished. 2) GONORRHOEA Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection. It can be passed on by rimming, sucking, fucking or getting fucked without a condom. Symptoms can include a white or greenish discharge from your penis and a burning sensation when you urinate or cum. Infection in your arse may be noticeable by a yellowish discharge, fresh blood on your faeces, mild diarrhoea, or itching and pain when going to the toilet. Infection via your mouth can result in a sore throat. Sometimes there are no symptoms, or they are too mild to be noticeable, particularly with gonorrhoea in the throat or arse. Gonorrhoea is usually treatable with antibiotics. You then need to avoid sex until the treatment is finished. 3) HIV HIV is a virus that attacks and weakens the immune system. If it’s untreated, HIV causes so much damage that the body is no longer able to defend itself. Most people experience some symptoms shortly after infection with HIV, commonly referred to as seroconversion. It usually occurs around two to six weeks after infection. Symptoms can include a sore throat, fever, body aches and/or a rash. Other common symptoms include: mouth ulcers, joint pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle pain and/or feeling overly tired or sick. However, a lot of these symptoms can be in relation to other illnesses, which is why it’s important to be tested to be sure. If you are diagnosed as HIV-positive, this likely means your viral load is high. Your HIV doctor will start you on medication to reduce your viral load, and once it reaches a very low level, you become HIV-undetectable. This means you cannot pass on HIV through sex. 4) SYPHILIS Syphilis is a bacterial infection. It’s usually transmitted through fucking without a condom and sucking, but it can also be transferred through rimming, fisting and even through skin to skin contact (although this is rare). The symptoms develop in four stages: Stage one: A small painless sore or hardened lump will appear one to ten weeks after infection, near the point where the bacteria entered your body. This could be your arse, penis or mouth. It’s possible for this to go unnoticed, especially if it is in your arse. Stage two: Up to two to six months later, you may experience a rash on the body and a flu-like illness involving fever, headache and sore throat. The symptoms between stage one and stage two may be mild and difficult to spot. Stage 3: At this stage syphilis usually has no symptoms but as the infection at this stage is established in the blood it can be easily transmitted to sexual partners. Stage 4: Here’s the bad bit – after a couple of years, if left untreated, syphilis will stop being contagious to sexual partners but at this stage the infection can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage, heart attacks, paralysis, lung problems and strokes. 5) CRABS Crabs, or pubic lice, are tiny brown bloodsucking insects, so called because of their crablike claws, which allow them to hold on to pubic hair. They are normally found in hair around the cock, balls and arse although they can be found in the armpits or elsewhere on hairy guys. Crabs cling to your skin and suck blood, causing intense itching. The lice are tiny but often visible. Tretament with lotions such as Lyclear are available from chemists, without prescription, for getting rid of crabs. They are also available free of charge from GUM clinics. You need to apply the lotion from the neck downwards and keep it on for 24 hours. Shaving pubic hair won’t get rid of crabs. It is important to wash all clothes, towels and bedding you have used since you picked up crabs on a hot cycle when you start using the lotion. TESTING IS KEY After you’ve done your laundry and uploaded your best Speedo selfies to Instagram, the next chore on your list when returning home is finding your local GUM clinic. Depending on the type of sex you’ve had on holiday (you may have had multiple partners, condomless sex etc) then make a note in your dairy to book an appointment or attend your nearest walk-in clinic two weeks after your return from sunning yourself.