STIs

Bacterial infections

Bacteria are very small single-celled life forms that live in and around us and can reproduce very quickly. While not all bacteria are harmful (in fact our bodies need some types of good bacteria to survive) some cause disease and illness.

In order to survive and develop, most bacteria use organic matter – that’s our bodies – as food and warmth. Therefore, if we think about the warm, moist parts of our bodies (the vulva, vagina, penis, rectum and throat) they are the ideal places for bacteria to thrive and grow. Bacterial STIs can be passed onto someone else through vaginal, anal and oral sex – as well as from any genital contact and by sharing sex toys.

Most bacterial infections can be treated with the correct dose of antibiotics but if left undiagnosed and untreated can cause major long-term damage to our bodies and some can also cause damage that may make it difficult to get pregnant.

Bacterial infections that can be sexually transmitted include:

You can get free and confidential advice and information about sexually transmitted infections from your local GP, Nurse or from Sexual Health STI Screening and Treatment Service.

If used correctly and consistently, condoms can help prevent against transmission of all bacterial STIs Condom User Guide page.