English: Sexually transmitted infections, STIs, are infections you can get through unprotected sex. STIs are fairly common and a lot of people get or have them. If you’ve had unprotected sex, it’s a good idea to get tested even though you are not showing any symptoms. Not all STIs are symptomatic, which can make them hard to detect without a proper check up.
How are STIs Transmitted?
First of all, for STIs to be transmitted at least one of the persons involved in a sexual act have to be infected. Many STIs don’t show and may not show any other symptoms, therefore you can’t know or guess whether someone has an infection or not.
Second of all, you need to have unprotected sex. By this we mean that mucous membranes have to come in contact with other mucous membranes or body fluids. STIs can also be transmitted if an open wound comes in contact with body fluids and/or a mucous membrane. When we use the word body fluid, we mean: semen, blood, vaginal secretions, lubrication and pre-cum.
Mucous membranes are found in and on the genitals, in and around the anal, as well as in the mouth, throat and eyes.
Condom, femidom, dam… How do I choose barrier protection?
STIs are transmitted mainly through unprotected sex. The risk of getting an STI is bigger if you’ve sex where a pussy or anal encloses a dick, but some STIs can also be transmitted through oral sex, fingers and sex toys. To protect yourself, use a condom, femidom or dam. Condoms are also good when using sex toys, such as dildos, to avoid infected mucous membranes coming in contact with other mucous membranes or body fluids. It’s also favourable to use a condom during oral sex with a person who has a dick, or to use a dam during oral sex with a person who has pussy. If you happen to have an STI and have unprotected sex, you increase the risk of getting infected by another STI. This is because infected mucous membranes are more susceptible to other infections.
How do I get tested? What does it cost?
To find out if you’ve an STI, you can get tested at an STI centre, a Youth Guidance Centre or a health clinic. Here you can find their locations in Uppsala. You can also call and talk to the Health Care Advice Line (Vårdguiden) on the phone number 1177, or visit their website.
Now, how the test’s done depends on how you’ve had sex. Since many STIs are local, it’s important that you get tested right on the mucous membrane. This should be the one involved in the sex act, for instance the anus, pussy, throat or mouth. They might be overlooked during a regular examination. Make sure that the ones testing you, are aware of where you need to be tested. It’s common that you get to leave a urine or blood sample. Getting tested for STIs is included in the Communicable Diseases Act (Smittskyddslagen, a Swedish law you can read more about here), which means that it is free to get tested if you’ve one of the following STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis B or syphilis.
It’s usually recommended that you wait a week after having unprotected sex before you go and get tested. Before then, the infection can be hard to detect.