Sexually Transmitted Infections

Many people worry about the prospect of an unplanned pregnancy but may neglect to consider the real possibility of getting an infection. It's hugely important to protect against STI's and this can only be done with the use of a condom (either male or female) for all intimate sexual contact. Any sexual contact (anal, oral, digital) can transmit an STI so being a virgin does not mean you don't have or can't get an STI.

There are 25 different types of Sexually Transmitted Infections, which include chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and pubic lice (which can be passed even when a condom is used).In the space of ten years, there has been a 700% increase in cases of Chlamydia in Ireland (Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 2006). STIs are more commonly reported and particularly growing among 20-29 year olds (Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 2006).

Many people with STI's do not display symptoms. It is likely that you won't even know you have one and yet it can have long term complications such as infertility and cancer. You can also pass it on despite having no symptoms. The symptoms which may or may not accompany STIs include:

  • abnormal discharge

  • irregular periods/staining

  • pain on passing urine

  • lower abdominal pain

  • an ulcer or wart on your genital skin

  • pain during intercourse

If you are sexually active you should have regular sexual health checks. You can make an appointment in thethrough your GP or at a GUM (Genito-Urinary Medicine) clinic.
Condoms are available for free from the Students' Union Vice-President/ Welfare Office all year round.

What kind of STIs are there?

Sexually Transmitted Infections are split into three categories

Parasites: These are passed on through skin to skin contact and sometimes through contact with infected bedclothes. Examples include pubic lice (crabs)

Viral: These can only be treated, not cured. Hepatitis,HIV, Herpes all fall under the viral category. HPV (Genital warts) can lead to illnesses like cervical cancer. HIV can develop into AIDS - an illness that is fatal.

Bacterial: These are caused by bacteria. They are problematic but curable illnesses. In many instances these STIs display no symptoms. These bacterial STIs include Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Syphilis.

For a more detailed description of these Sexually Transmitted Illnesses, click here

STI Testing

Facilities for STI testing are available in the following health units or hospitals.

Galway

There is also a walk in service at the Galway University Hospital Infectious Disease Clinic opening hours can be found here

Clare
Ennis General Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Monday: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Limerick

Limerick Regional Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Tuesday & Friday: 10:00am - 1:00pm & 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Mayo

Mayo General Hospital
Castlebar, Co. Mayo
(094) 9021733
Tuesday: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Sligo
Sligo Regional Hospital
(071) 9170473
Tuesday: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Tipperary
Nenagh General Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 5:00pm

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