Sexually Transmitted infections (STIs)


STIs are infections that are passed between people during sexual activity. You can catch an STI through:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Oral sex

Some STIs have no symptoms, but if left untreated, can lead to more serious health problems like infertility. Other STIs do have symptoms such as:

  • Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina – which may have an unpleasant smell
  • itches
  • rashes
  • lumps or blisters around the genitals or anus
  • pain when passing urine
  • pain and/ or bleeding after sex
  • pain in the testicles or lower tummy

Most STIs can be treated and cured – especially when caught early enough.

Get tested,  Take control.

You can get tested and treated for STIs in complete confidence at the following places, whatever your age, including under-16s. Click the links for further info:


Chlamydia / Gonorrhoea screening for under-25s, including full STI testing during GUM clinics.

Axess Sexual Health clinic  (GUM) 

Testing and treatment for all STIs, all ages.
Rapid HIV testing service available (result in 20 minutes).

Student Health Centre 

Drop-in service providing testing and treatment for most STIs.

Central Abacus

Testing and treatment for Chlamydia - all ages
Testing for Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis - all ages

The Armistead Centre

Rapid HIV testing service (results in 20 minutes) for LGBT of all ages.


Liverpool is participating in the nationally commissioned HIV home-sampling screening scheme, which offers free HIV tests in participating regions.  The service provides free postal tests to gay and bisexual men and African people because these communities are identified as being most at risk of HIV.  If you wish to request one of the small, discreet postal kits, visit to enter your details and check your eligibility.


Common STIs include…


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and on the increase amongst 16-24 year olds. It affects both men and women. Around 10% of 16-24 year olds who are tested in Liverpool are infected with Chlamydia.
were found to have it recently.

Most people with Chlamydia have no symptoms. However if left untreated – it can lead to infertility. There are no painful or embarrassing tests, just a simple urine test, or a self-taken swab for a woman.  Treatment is via antibiotic tablets.

Genital Warts (GW)

These are also quite common and are caused by a virus (HPV). Genital warts are soft, moist and flesh coloured and appear in the genital area. They sometimes appear in clusters that resemble cauliflower-like bumps, and can be raised, flat, small or large. Genital warts can show up in women on the vulva and cervix, and inside and around the vagina and anus. In men, genital warts can appear on the scrotum or penis or around the anus.

Unfortunately GW can be transmitted by oral, vaginal and anal sex – or even just skin to skin contact. If you think you have them, you can be examined and treated at GUM (any age) or Brook (under-25s).


Sometimes this has no symptoms, but can cause burning pain when peeing; itching; redness; or swelling. It can also cause a discharge (yellow/green pus) to come out of the penis or vagina. It is transmitted by oral, vaginal or anal sex and can also infect the throat. It can be treated with antibiotics.


Genital Herpes is a virus causing painful sores or blisters in the genital and anal area. It is a similar virus to the one that causes ‘cold sores’ round the mouth. Once you have caught Genital Herpes the virus will stay in your body and genital sores can come back from time to time. Repeat sores are usually smaller, not as painful and clear up more quickly than the first ones. Treatment aims to ease the pain and discomfort of the sores but it does not cure the virus.


This is generally less common than those above, but is still on the increase amongst all groups. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It cannot be cured but it can be treated with Antiretroviral treatment. These are drugs that slow the progression of the virus in the body and have to be taken for life. They delay or prevent development of late stage HIV infection and are helping people with HIV to live longer.