FAQs

Common questions and answers about your sexual health

Protection-Condom

No. Oil based products like Vaseline, massage oils or moisturiser can cause latex to disintegrate, so you should use only water-based lubricant with condoms.

No. Although it might seem extra safe, wearing two condoms or "double-bagging" will increase the friction between them and make them more likely to tear or break.

The oral contraceptive pill does not prevent you from getting an STI. It only prevents pregnancy. The only way to protect yourself against most STIs is by using condoms.

For best protection, a condom should be used every time you have sex.

STIs

There are lots of ways to prevent getting an STI, including always using barrier methods like condoms when having sex, regular STI testing and early treatment if necessary.

While the severity and type of health impacts varies depending on the condition, untreated STIs can lead to a number of serious complications including:Pain and discomfort.Ectopic pregnancy.Foetal and neonatal death.Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).Infertility.Facilitation of HIV transmission.Cellular changes preceding cancer.

No. Anyone who had unprotected sex even if done once can contract HIV. HIV does not discriminate and can affect anyone of any gender, age, race or sexuality.

STIs are infections that can be passed on when you have unprotected sex, or other close sexual contact with another person.

You cannot know when you contracted the warts virus, as it can often lay dormant and show no signs or symptoms for years. There is no test to see if you have the virus, it's only when the warts appear on your skin and you can see them visually that you know something is wrong.

Yes. Unprotected oral sex can leave you vulnerable to STIs, particularly Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Herpes. It's best to use a condom or dam and water-based lubricant when you are having oral sex.

Not necessarily. Many people with an STI don't have symptoms.

Testing

No. Cervical screening is a test to check the health of the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb (often called the neck of the uterus). Pap /cervical smears can only screen for HPV not for other STIs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV. You can call the GU clinic for an appointment to screen for other STIs.

You should be tested:As soon as you experience any symptoms (e.g. unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus, itchiness, pain when peeing or lumps or skin growths around the genitals or anus).If you had or are having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.Having unprotected sex with more than one partner.Participated in chemsex.

It depends on your sex life and how many partners do you have sex with. It is recommended to get tested every time you engage in a new sexual relationship.

You can only know if you do not have an infection by having a test yourself. HIV rapid tests can be done at the GU clinic.

If you don't have a regular partner and you have casual sex you should go at least once every six months or yearly.If you have lots of sexual partners have a check-up at least every six months.If you get any symptoms that may be an STI (eg, sores, inflammation or discharge), call the GU clinic straight away and don't have sex until given the all-clear.Before having sex at the start of a new relationship, have a check-up. It is always recommendable to have sex with a condom.

Protection-Vaccines

Safe and highly effective vaccines are available for 2 STIs: Hepatitis B and HPV. These vaccines are considered as a very good prevention against STIs.

Vaccines are available at The Immunisation Clinic. You can access more information on vaccines on https://deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/en/phc/pchyhi/Pages/National-Immunisation-Schedule.aspx.