"HARNESS" column for Beefyboyz.com - January 2004

Can you have a sexually transmitted infection without any symptoms?

"My partner wants me to go to a clinic for a sexual health check up, but I don't have any symptoms and don't want to go. Is it possible to have a sexually transmitted infection and not have any symptoms?"

The simple answer to your question is YES, it is possible to have a sexually transmitted infection and not realise for months or even years. Unfortunately you will still be able to infect other people in the meantime, and when the disease finally develops noticeable symptoms it will be far harder to treat. Health experts recommend that everyone who's sexually active has a check-up every 3 to 6 months, depending on how active you are.

If you've never been to a sexual health clinic before, don't worry. In my experience the staff are friendly, non-judgemental and have seen everything before. In the UK (and, I suspect much of Europe) sexual health clinics are free to use, confidential and you can even give a false name if you want. Chatting to friends in the USA it seems that sexual health provision varies from city to city, so if you're not sure where to go ask your nearest lesbian and gay centre if you have one, or gay bar if you don't.

The most common sexually transmitted infections are:

Now, this list was not to frighten you but to encourage a visit to your local clinic if you've been putting it off. Make it your New Year resolution if you like! My thanks to GMFA for helping me with this answer. For more information go to their website: www.gmfa.org.uk/sex/stis/index

Have fun, and look after yourselves and the people you play with.

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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