Everything You Want To Know About Sexually Transmitted Infections

What Is An Sexually Transmitted Infection?

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that spreads from one person to another through sexual activities such as vaginal, oral, or anal sex (NICD, 2022). STIs affect anyone who is sexually active and do not discriminate based on nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status (NICD, 2022).

It’s estimated that across the world, more than a million people are diagnosed with one or more STIs like gonorrhoea, chlamydia or syphilis every day (NICD, 2022).

Common Sexually Transmitted Infections


Genital Herpes






Viral Hepatitis

Male Urethritis Syndrome

How Can A Person Get An STI?

According to the NICD (2022) STIs are spread through:

✔ Unprotected (without a condom) vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who has an STI.

It can be hard to tell if someone has an STI because they can spread even without symptoms.

✔ Touching or kissing someone with sores in the genital area or mouth, this can lead to contracting syphilis and herpes.

What Are the Symptoms Of An STI?

STIs often have mild or no symptoms, but when symptoms are present, they may include (NICD, 2022):

✔ Fluid coming out the penis in men (known as “i-drop”) or abnormal discharge from the vagina in women.

✔ Pain when urinating.

✔ Infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia may cause pain or swelling of the testicles.

✔ Sores or ulcers in the genital area or around the anus.

✔ Infections like herpes and syphilis may cause swelling in the groin.

✔ Warts in the genital area caused by the HPV virus.

What To Do If You Have Symptoms Of An STI?

If you would like to test for a sexually transmitted infection, you can rely on Epicentre’s Walk-In Labs for discrete and easy STI testing.

Please note that our packages are just a guide, you can pick any of these tests, add extra tests or take out any test. Choose what suits your needs!

How Are STIs Treated?

Some STIs are cured easily with treatment, but others need to be treated over a lifetime to manage the symptoms and reduce spread to sexual partners (NICD, 2022).

Treatment may involve taking pills or getting a injection. For other STIs that can’t be cured, like herpes or HIV, medicines can help reduce the symptoms, control the infection and prevent the spread to sex partners (NICD, 2022).

What Happens If An STI Remains Untreated?

If an STI is left untreated, there can be long-term complications. People can experience ongoing lower abdominal pain, infertility, and pregnancy-related problems like stillbirths and premature delivery (NICD, 2022). Untreated STIs also have consequences for loved ones as they can spread the infection to sexual partners, which contributes to the spread of STIs within communities (NICD, 2022).

Asymptomatic Sexually Transmitted Infections

Many people infected with STIs may not have any signs or symptoms, and so they may not even be aware that they are infected (NICD, 2022). This is why it is very important to get tested for STIs before starting a new sexual relationship.

Many of us trust our partners, but we cannot always trust those they have been with before.

Who Is Most At Risk For STIs?

If you have risky sex, you are more at risk for STIs (NICD, 2022):

Those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Those who have unprotected sex with casual partners (like a one-night stand).

Sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How To Prevent Getting or Spreading STI’s

The best way to protect yourself against STIs is to practice safe sex by avoiding risky sexual behaviour (NICD, 2022). You can do this by:

✔ Always correctly use a condom. This will create a protective shield against most STIs and also prevent unplanned pregnancies.

✔ Male circumcision done safely at a clinic or hospital can reduce the risk of spreading and catching HIV and STIs.

✔ Get vaccinated! A safe & effective vaccine is available to protect against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

How Can Pregnant Women Prevent Spreading an STI To Their Unborn Baby?

Some STIs, like syphilis, cross the placenta and infect the baby in the womb (NICD, 2022).

Other STIs, like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and genital herpes, can pass from the mother to the baby as the baby passes through the birth canal (NICD, 2022).

This is why all pregnant women should test for STIs and be treated if they are infected, this must be done to prevent transmission from mother to baby (NICD, 2022).

It is important to have these tests done early in pregnancy (that is, within the first 3 months).

Book with Epicentre

For 20 years Epicentre has been fighting South African’s infectious diseases, and now we’re taking on COVID-19! We are a company founded on a vision, ending disease in South Africa! So we believe in making an IMPACT.

By booking your tests with Epicentre, you are supporting a real local company that has worked for 20 years in all 9 provinces, from Pollsmoor prison to Constantia; & you’re getting a gold standard service that experts trust!

Epicentre Special Deals

We offer free and heavily discounted tests as they are subsidized by research organizations that are looking to use this anonymous information to investigate various research questions, like can people test themselves for COVID?

Drive-Thru COVID-19 PCR test

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(Not for travel)

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Pensioners get 10% all Lab Tests

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R50 pensioners discount!

Epicentre offers

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Please note that our packages are just a guide, you can pick any of the tests in these packages, add extra tests or take out any tests. Choose what suits your needs!

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Please note that our packages are just a guide, you can pick any of these tests in these packages, add extra tests or take out any tests. Choose what suits your needs!

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