My best mate and I are both virgins. We are also gay. We want to further our relationship and become a couple. If we had sex, is there a chance of catching STIs? Could either of us have an STI or carry it without ever having sex before? Do we need to use condoms?
There are many different types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be spread in different ways, not just through penetrative sex. There are also some infections that are not necessarily sexually transmitted at all.
It is not possible to get an STI from someone that doesn't have one. However, STIs can be passed on through sexual activities other than penetrative sex. If you or your friend have had any other form of sexual contact before (such as oral sex or sexual touching) then it is possible that you could have been at risk of an infection.
Some infections such as thrush can occur in people even if they don't have sex, but can then be passed on during unprotected sex. Other infections like cystitis can be caused by bacteria getting into the urethra during sexual contact, using a condom prevents this.
So the only way to protect against STIs and infection is to use a condom during sexual contact. Dental dams (thin squares of latex) can also be used as a barrier during sex involving contact between the mouth and the anus.
If you and your partner would like more information about this, you can get advice and testing at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Services are located attached to or within local hospitals, and are usually separate, discreet departments. GUM consultations are free and confidential, which means that no one will be told about your visit, unless you want them to be.
Health advisors at GUM services are very used to seeing young people, and answering any questions they might have. Health advisors will see it as a positive thing that you are looking after your sexual health by going for advice.
Condoms are free from GUM clinics, youth clinics and family planning clinics. All of these services can also offer advice about sexual health as well. So you could go along to your nearest youth clinic with your partner and have a chat with a health advisor who would answer any questions that you have and give you free condoms.
If you want to discuss your situation further, you can call the Brook Freephone Helpline on 0800 0185 023.
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook