Sexually transmissible infections – Beforeplay – Infertility

This animation provides information about impacts of untreated STIs on fertility.

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In Australia, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis have increased, and these sexually transmissible infections, or STIs can cause reproductive issues and infertility if left untreated.

STIs are a bit sneaky and often don’t show symptoms, or if they do, they could be confused for something else.

Untreated STIs can cause inflammation and infection of the testicles and prostate, which could reduce the number and quality of sperm.

This can also lead to infertility.

For women, untreated STIs can cause a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease that can lead to infertility.

Pelvic inflammatory disease affects around 1 in 8 women in their lifetime and is most common in sexually active women aged 20 to 24.

It scars the fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs, which can stop sperm from reaching the egg.

Pelvic inflammatory disease could also lead to an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilised egg develops outside the uterus. This can be life threatening.

STIs can also cause serious problems during pregnancy for you and your unborn baby.

Some STIs can be passed to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

Potential complications include preterm birth, low birth weight, miscarriage and stillbirth.

The good news is that some STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis can be cured with medication. Other STIs such as herpes and HIV can’t be cured but they can be treated effectively.

The earlier STIs are diagnosed and treated, the less likely they are to cause fertility issues.

Having a simple STI test as part of regular sexual health check-ups is the only way to know if you have an STI – and to get the right treatment if you need it.

Make STI testing your Beforeplay.

Find out more at health.gov.au/STI

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