I have a discharge — do I have an STI?

Most girls and women have vaginal discharge during their reproductive years. Discharge is normal if a clear or white liquid comes out of your vagina from time-to-time during your monthly cycle. It may feel a bit wet and sticky but shouldn’t smell bad. If you have a discharge that has recently changed, smells bad, is brown or creamy in colour, or you have itching or sores around your vagina, you may have an infection and need to seek medical attention.

Vaginal discharges that need medical attention:

Thrush (Candida)
Thrush is an infection of the vagina that causes itching, as well as a creamy discharge and it is very common. It is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but can be passed on through sex.

Bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vagina that causes a watery, bad smelling discharge. Although bacterial vaginosis is not an STI, having many sexual partners as well as cleaning your vagina with strong soaps can put you at risk for this infection.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are STIs that can cause unusual discharge or pain when you pee. Sometimes people don’t have any symptoms. If these infections are not treated, they can cause damage to your womb, tubes, and ovaries and if untreated may result in infertility.

Seek care as soon as possible if you have any symptoms or if you are concerned!

Use the service finder to find your nearest clinic here.

Not all infections are sexually transmitted, but it is not always easy to tell the difference. It is important that you and your partner see a nurse or a doctor to get tested and treated for all infections. Remember to avoid having unprotected sex as much as possible!

Want more information on the different types of STIs? Click here

Learn more about your vagina and discharge in this article

Find out what to do to get access to an STI test here

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