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Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

Symptoms

The symptoms of an STI can include:

  • an unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • pain when peeing
  • lumps or skin growths around the genitals or bottom (anus)
  • a rash
  • unusual vaginal bleeding
  • itchy genitals or anus
  • blisters and sores around your genitals or anus
  • warts around your genitals or anus
  • warts in your mouth or throat, but this is very rare

When to see a doctor

See a doctor immediately if:

  • You are sexually active and may have been exposed to an STI
  • You have signs and symptoms of an STI

 

Make an appointment with a doctor:

  • When you’re considering becoming sexually active or when you’re 21 — whichever comes first
  • Before you start having sex with a new partner

Causes

STDs or STIs can be caused by:

  • Bacteria. Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are examples of STIs that are caused by bacteria.
  • Parasites. Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite.
  • Viruses. STIs causes by viruses include HPV, genital herpes and HIV.

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