Advice centres

What are STIs?

  • ‘STI’ stands for sexually transmitted infection and refers to infections and diseases transmitted by sexual intercourse.

  • Most of them are easy to treat using medicines. Often you will not even notice that they are there.

  • That’s why we recommend that you have yourself examined regularly (ideally every 4-6 months).

  • These examinations pay off: if you detect infections early, they will be easy to treat.

  • Many STIs have no symptoms at all. Basically, however, if it itches, burns, stinks or there are other symptoms in your intimate areas, then do contact a doctor or an advice centre.

Where can I have myself examined free of charge and anonymously? 

  • Many local health authorities in Schleswig-Holstein offer free and anonymous examinations and treatment for sex workers. Here at cara*SH we can take you there and accompany you.

  • If you go there, you can tell them that you work in prostitution and that you require anonymous advice and examinations.

Where can I have myself tested?

  • In Schleswig-Holstein, many of the 15 local health authorities offer what are usually free and anonymous tests for HIV and other STIs. You can also go there to ask them anything about STIs and obtain advice.

  • There are also advice centres that offer HIV tests that are usually free. (Interner LINK zu unseren Beratungskategorien HIV Test)

  • If you have health insurance, then you can go to your local doctor.

Why is it important to protect myself against STIs in my profession?

  • Because you have numerous changing sexual partners, you are at a higher risk of being infected by a sexually transmitted disease.

  • Safer sex is a good away of staying healthy at work.

  • If you get the feeling that one of your clients could be ill or you notice wounds or tears, then we advise you to be especially careful (always use condoms; and in such cases, use latex gloves as well). If you get a funny feeling in your gut, consider turning down the client. You are allowed to do that.

What different STIs are there? Which infections/illnesses are being referred to?

  • Generally speaking we differentiate between bacterial, viral and parasitic STIs:

    • Bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria and can usually be treated easily using antibiotics. These include chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea.

    • Viral STIs are caused by viruses. Treatment is often long and drawn-out since these STIs cannot always be treated directly and display few symptoms. However, these infections generally can be healed. They include Hepatitis A, B and C, HPV (human papillomavirus)/ genital warts, herpes and HIV.

    • Parasites are small living organisms which can be transmitted through intimate contact. Most of them are easy to treat. They include trichomonads, pubic lice and scabies.

  • There’s a good list of symptoms and treatments of sexually transmitted infections/illnesses at and at

What is HIV/AIDS?

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and is one of the best-known sexually transmitted diseases.

  • HIV remains one of the foremost sexually transmitted infections/illnesses because it still cannot be cured.

  • HIV is a virus which, if not treated with medicine, can trigger the life-threatening illness AIDS. If you discover you are infected with HIV then you can be treated using medicines and you may still live a good, long life.

  • It is transmitted via bodily fluids (vaginal secretion, sperm, anal secretion and blood), via the mucous membranes and through open wounds. Condoms protect against this during sex.

  • If you’re afraid that you’ve been infected by HIV, then you should go for an HIV test. Go to an advice centre nearby. If you like, we at cara*SH can accompany you or bring you there.

What are the things I should look out for?

  • Always work with a condom. It offers secure protection against most sexually transmitted infections.

  • You can also protect yourself using regular vaccinations. Ask about this at your doctor or local health authority.

  • If anything begins to burn, itch, stink or exhibit other symptoms in your intimate areas, go for an examination.

  • Keep an eye on your clients’ intimate areas. If you notice changes, avoid contact with the areas of skin involved.

  • If you nevertheless wish to keep working during your STI treatment, you should limit yourself to other practices such as hand release.

I have become infected with a sexually transmitted infection/disease. What can I do?

  • It is important to detect STIs early.

    The earlier they’re noticed, the easier it usually is to treat them.

    It is therefore good if you notice them and go as soon as possible to a doctor.

Advice videos

Advice about safer sex - Tips for sex workers


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