The season for giving and sharing has passed, but what if you shared something you didnt mean to or received something that is now causing an itch? No one likes an unwanted present, so finding out you have picked up a Sexually Transmitted Infection over the holidays is not how you may have planned to start 2014.
So if you already have a new years resolution or none at all, why not make this a priority to get yourself a full MOT and make an appointment at your local Sexual Health Clinic and get a full screening.
On January the 14th it is national STIQ day, the two weeks after Christmas when symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection might be starting to show. Although many people don't think they've got an STI, around 1-in-12 of those who get tested find that they are infected with an STI. Some of the most common STI's don't actually show any symptoms in some people so most of the people who have the infection wouldn't even know. Just like getting your car tested each year for its MOT, you should be just as, if not more so concerned with your own body getting its full MOT.
Most STI's can be cleared up with a course on antibiotics, but not all, that is why it is important to practice safe sex by using condoms. When attending your appointment you should be offered a blood test for HIV, most will chose not to take part in this part of their check up, but just like a car having its MOT, you wouldn't say to the mechanic check the oil but forget about checking the brakes, so do the sensible thing and go for the full MOT as any STI caught early is better than an STI caught late!
Your first time at a sexual health clinic can be scary, but please be reassured the staff will be friendly, treat you with respect and your results will remain confidential. Many people feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about their private areas or showing them to strangers, but please remember they have seen and heard it all before, nothing will shock them and its better to be honest and get the right course of treatment than lie and need to go back again. Sex is a normal part of adult life so a sexual health check should be to. It's a quick, simple process that not only puts your mind at rest but could protect your fertility or even save your life - or that of your partner.
To find out about different STI's please visit our sexual health pages.
For more information about STIQ Day please visit http://www.stiq.co.uk/home.stiq
You can also click on our poster, download and print off and display to encourage others to get tested.