It’s time to take charge of your sexual health, and with STIQ Day this January 14th, you can. Launched to get people thinking about their sexual health and to raise awareness of the importance of getting regular checks, STIQ Day provides a great opportunity to get the all clear and prevent the spread of the UK’s most common sexually transmitted infections and diseases.


What is STIQ Day?

STIQ is a new awareness day set up to educate people and raise awareness of STIs. STIs are a growing concern in the UK as the number of those being diagnosed each year is rising. Through promoting the importance of getting sexual health checks and using contraception to prevent STIs, it is hoped that the numbers can begin to decrease.

The most common STIs diagnosed in the UK include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Public lice
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV and AIDS

As most STIs don’t display obvious symptoms, it is hoped that raising awareness will help encourage people to get regular checks in order to detect STIs sooner and to ensure that they get the right treatment.


Why January 14th?

The festive season is notorious for being a time for partying and drinking, which is when unprotected sex can happen. It can take two weeks for an STI like chlamydia to be detectable, therefore January 14th is an ideal time for getting tested. Being one month before Valentine’s Day, those looking for romance can do so safe in the knowledge that they are STI free by getting checked in time.


The truth about getting checked

Many people put off getting checked out because they are embarrassed or afraid. However, getting a regular check can save further embarrassment later down the line and should form a normal part of maintaining your general health. Whether you’ve had a one, two or several sexual partners, your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection are still possible if you’ve had unprotected sex (sex without a condom). Getting checked out is not only important for you but for your partner too. Tests are routine and quick and any discomfort you may feel about being there will soon be over.


What to do if you’re worried about having an STI

If you’ve had unprotected sex and are concerned that you may have an STI, you should make an appointment with your doctor or with your nearest genitourinary medicine clinic (GUM) to get tested. They will be able to discuss any symptoms that you may have as well as advise you on practicing safe sex. Your test will take around 20 minutes, and results will be with you within a couple of weeks. If you test positive for an infection, your doctor will be able to advise you on treatment, which normally involves a course of antibiotics. It is then advised that you get tested again in three months to ensure that you are free from infection.

If the thought of getting tested frightens you or makes you uncomfortable, there are many home testing kits available which allow you to perform tests from the comfort of your own home and send them off for analysis. These are offered by a number of pharmacies, and there are is plenty of information on how to use them on the NHS website.


Getting involved

The best way to get involved in STIQ day is to get yourself tested. You can find out more information about testing from the STIQ website, or from your local GP. Start the New Year off the right way and take charge of your sexual health.