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Animations about sexual health

Queensland Health have produced the following animations to provide information on STI transmission and symptoms, as well as other aspects of sexual and reproductive health. There are also animations about what you can expect if you see a health provider for a sexual health check.

Please note that where animations are labelled male or female, this is according to the genitals/reproductive system they depict.

These animations are not designed as a substitute for an appointment with a health provider. If you have symptoms of an STI or any other sexual health concerns, you should see a doctor without delay.

Sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses

Sexual and reproductive health topics

Further information

Are you a young person trying to find out more about sex and STIs? Visit our Stop the Rise of STIs website.

For Queenslanders of all ages looking for additional sexual health information and resources please visit the Queensland Government sexual health and wellbeing page.

For clinical fact sheets about STIs and sexual health, please see the Health Conditions Directory.

Reproductive cycle

Transcript: Emergency contraception 

The cycle of conception begins with the deposit of sperm from the penis into the vagina during sexual intercourse.

Sperm begins its life in the testicles which are contained in a sac called the scrotum.

The testicles produce both sperm and the male hormones necessary for functioning as a male. Each day the testicles can produce around 150 million sperm.

Once sperm has been produced in the tubules, it is stored in the epididymis which is like a little cap or duct on the outside of the testicles.

The epididymis stores sperm for between 2 – 11 days. If it is not used it may be released naturally during sleep. This is known as a ‘wet dream’.

Prior to ejaculation, sperm pass though long thin tubes called the vas deferens and collect in the seminal vesicle.

Sperm only comprise about 2-3% of the volume of semen. The rest is made up of additions from the glands of the reproductive tract, including the seminal vesicle and the prostate gland.

Seminal fluid is added from the seminal vesicle and the enzymes from the prostate gland. The combined fluid is then ready for ejaculation.

Blood flows into the penis causing an erection. Just prior to ejaculation there are powerful contractions by the muscle that lies at the base of the penis. This forces the semen out as ejaculate.

Sperm is then released into the vagina ready to begin its journey through the female’s reproductive organs.

Once released into the vagina, the cervix acts as a reservoir to allow a continuous supply of sperm to swim upward into the uterus and then into the fallopian tubes.

All women are born with thousands of tiny eggs, or ova, inside their ovaries. Each month at around mid menstrual cycle (around day 14 of a 28-day cycle) an egg is released by one of the ovaries.

The egg is picked up by the tiny tentacles, fimbriae, at the entrance of the fallopian tube. If the egg is not fertilised it will die within 24 hours.

If sperm are present, fertilisation can occur near the end of the fallopian tube. Sperm can survive for up to 7 days inside the female.

The lining of the fallopian tube contains hair like projections, or cilia, that beat together to gently guide the fertilised egg down the fallopian tube.

As the fertilised egg continues down the fallopian tube, it continues to grow. Approximately 15 hours later the cell divides — doubling the number of cells.

In the meantime, the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, is being prepared by female hormones to receive the fertilised egg. The tissue becomes thick and full of blood and other fluids.

A bundle of 64 cells reach the uterus six to seven days after ovulation. The embryo then starts to produce a pregnancy hormone to sustain the pregnancy. Pregnancy test kits can detect this hormone.

The fertilised egg attaches itself to the endometrium and continues to grow.

If an egg does not attach, the lining and excess blood is shed in what becomes the monthly menstrual cycle, or period. Periods usually last from between 3-7 days.

Periods are part of the natural reproductive cycle, which normally begins between the age of 10-14 and ends at about 50 years of age.

Emergency contraception

Transcript: Emergency contraception 

The emergency contraception pill or the ‘morning-after pill’ can be used to reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex.

This might occur after condom breakage, missed contraceptive pills, if no contraception was used, a dislodged diaphragm, or non-consensual sex.

The pill contains high levels of the hormone progestogen that is absorbed into the blood. These hormones act on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to stop or delay ovulation.

They can also cause a temporary change to the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg from being implanted.

Emergency contraception is most effective when taken within 24 hours of having unprotected sex but some can be taken up to 96 hours after.

It is usually given as a single tablet and is available over the counter at pharmacies without a prescription.

It also available from your GP, sexual health clinic or reproductive health service.

After taking emergency contraception, it is recommended to have another appointment with a GP, sexual health clinic or reproductive health service for a follow up pregnancy test, to discuss possibly testing for STIs, and longer term contraception options.

Using condoms

Transcript: Using condoms 

Before using a condom, check that it has not passed its expiry date.
As you open the packet, do so carefully so you do not damage or make a tear in the condom.

When the penis is erect, pinch the air out of the tip of the condom and roll it down over the penis.

Water-based lubricants should be used on the outside of the condom to make the experience more pleasurable and to reduce the risk of the condom tearing.

Never use oil-based lubricants such as massage oil or Vaseline as they can weaken the condom.

After ejaculation, hold onto the base of the condom as the penis is pulled out so it does not stay behind.

Tie a knot in the condom and put it in the bin.  Avoid putting it down the toilet as this can cause a blockage in the plumbing.

Remember to always use a new condom each time you have sex, or change from having one type of sex to another.

Having a sexual health check female

Transcript: Having a sexual health check female 

Sexual health checks are available to everyone and should be part of a general health routine for all sexually active people.

Some sexually transmissible infections, or STIs, are quite common, and they can cause long term health issues if left untreated.

Across Australia clinicians and health workers see people every day about their concerns and questions regarding sexual health.

Some of the reasons you might want a sexual health check include if you are sexually active, you would like to learn about contraception, you need sexual health advice, a partner has suggested you need a check, or you just have questions about your sexuality.

Sexual health checks are available from GPs, sexual health clinics, reproductive health services and men’s and women’s health staff in remote clinics.

Before you decide where to get your sexual health check, there are a few things to consider.

GP clinics are usually the best place to get a check if you have no symptoms, or just have some questions. You can visit a GP clinic if you have symptoms too. Some will bulk bill, which means your appointment will be free. Other GPs will charge you a fee, so you may want to check first.

Sexual health clinics are run by Queensland Health and provide free services.

Reproductive health services are run by non-government organisations and may also provide free services for eligible people.

In some cases you will need a Medicare Card and to call and make an appointment beforehand.

When you visit a health service for the first time, you are usually asked to fill in a form with your name and contact details.

You will then speak with a clinician or health worker. This is your time to ask questions regarding your sexual health.

Some of the things you might want to ask about include types of contraception, STIs,  pregnancy, periods and cervical screening.

You might also talk about things like your sexuality, if you’re at risk of HIV infection, and sexual relationships.

During your visit, the clinician or health worker might want to learn a few things about you.

They might ask you when you last had sex, if you have sex with men, women or both, when you last changed your sexual partner, if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex, if you use condoms, if you have symptoms or if you’ve ever injected drugs.

You might feel uncomfortable, especially if some of the questions asked are personal. But remember the clinician is used to having these conversations so don’t feel embarrassed.

Providing accurate information also means that you will get the best advice. Some STIs can lead to serious long-term health problems if not treated.

During your appointment, it might also be necessary to take some tests. The clinician might want to swab your mouth, anus or genitals or any sores or blisters you have. You might also be asked to provide a urine or blood sample.

Although it can feel overwhelming to have a sexual health check, you are protecting your health and the health of others.

Having a sexual health check male

Transcript: Having a sexual health check male

Sexual health checks are available to everyone and should be part of a general health routine for all sexually active people. Some sexually transmissible infections, or STIs, are quite common, and they can cause long term health issues if left untreated.

Across Australia, clinicians and health workers see people every day about their concerns and questions regarding sexual health.

Some of the reasons you might want a sexual health check include if you are sexually active, you would like to learn about contraception, you need sexual health advice, a partner has suggested you need a check, or you just have questions about your sexuality.

Sexual health checks are available from GPs, sexual health clinics, reproductive health services and men’s and women’s health staff in remote clinics.

Before you decide where to get your sexual health check, there are a few things to consider:

GP clinics are usually the best place to get a check if you have no symptoms , or just have some questions. Some will bulk bill which means your appointment will be free. Other GPs will charge you a fee, so you may want to check first.

Sexual health clinics are run by Queensland Health and provide free services.

Reproductive health services are run by non-government organisations and may also provide free services for eligible people.

In some cases you will need a Medicare Card and to call and make an appointment beforehand.

When you visit a health service for the first time, you are usually asked to fill in a form with your name and contact details.

You will then speak with a clinician or health worker. This is your time to ask questions regarding your sexual health.

Some of the things you might want to talk about include contraception, your sexuality, STIs, if you’re at risk of HIV infection, using condoms, and your sexual relationships.

During your visit, the clinician or health worker might want to learn a few things about you.

They might ask you when you last had sex, if you have sex with men, women or both, when you last changed your sexual partner, if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex, if you use condoms, if you have symptoms or if you’ve ever injected drugs.

You might feel uncomfortable if some of the questions asked are personal. But remember the clinician is used to having these conversations so don’t feel embarrassed.

Providing accurate information also means that you will get the best advice and treatment if needed.

During your appointment it might also be necessary to take some tests. The clinician might want to swab your mouth, anus or genitals or any sores or blisters you have. You might also be asked to provide a urine or blood sample.

Although it can feel overwhelming to have a sexual health check, you are protecting your health and the health of others.

Chlamydia female

Transcript: Chlamydia female 

Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection or STI that is passed between partners during unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. Many people with chlamydia do not have any symptoms so they may not even know they have it.

It is the most common bacterial STI world-wide, especially among people aged 15 to 29 years.

Chlamydia can infect the cervix, throat, anus, eyes, and the urethra, which is a thin tube connected to the bladder through which urine passes. Without proper treatment, chlamydia can spread further through the body, infecting the uterus and the fallopian tubes. These are the hollow tubes that connect the uterus to the ovaries.

When the body detects an STI, the immune system tries to destroy the infection.
There are often no symptoms during this immune response, but sometimes the area can become inflamed and sore.

As the STI is killed and immune system cells die off, they sometimes form a discharge at the opening of the vagina.

The inflammation that occurs in the cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes is called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID.

PID can present as mild abdominal pain which can be missed if women mistake it for period pain. It can also cause pain or bleeding during or after sex. PID can also cause scarring which can block the fallopian tubes and may result in infertility, as sperm released during ejaculation cannot travel through the tubes to fertilise the egg.

Damaged fallopian tubes can impact on the process of moving a fertilised egg through the tube towards the uterus at the start of pregnancy.

The egg may then attach itself to the fallopian tube where it begins to grow.
This is called an ectopic pregnancy and can be very dangerous.

Chlamydia can also be passed from mother to baby during delivery, causing an infection in the newborn’s eyes.

Chlamydia and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, having regular sexual health check ups and ensuring you or your health provider notify your sexual partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Chlamydia male

Transcript: Chlamydia male 

Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection or STI that is passed between partners during unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. Many people with chlamydia do not have any symptoms so they may not even know they have it.

It is the most common bacterial STI world-wide, especially among people aged 15 to 29 years.

Chlamydia commonly infects the urethra, but can also occur in the throat, anus and even the eyes.

As the body’s immune system fights the STI, dead cells from the immune system, and cells that die as a result of the infection are occasionally passed out of the body as a clear or milky discharge or pus.

Other symptoms can be stinging pain or burning when urinating, or swollen and painful testes.

If left untreated, chlamydia can continue further into the reproductive system, affecting the seminal vesicles, vas deferens, epididymis and the testicles.

Because the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles are so small, any scarring as a result of the infection can contribute to reduced sperm counts and infertility.

Untreated chlamydia can also cause chronic epididymitis, which is persistent inflammation and pain in the testes that can be difficult to treat.

Chlamydia and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, having regular sexual health check ups and ensuring you or your health provider notify your sexual partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Syphilis female

Transcript: Syphilis female 

Syphilis is a highly infectious sexually transmissible infection or STI, that is passed on during intimate skin-to-skin contact or vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person. It has several stages and can be infectious over a long time.

The first signs of syphilis are often sores or ulcers on or inside the genitals, mouth, or throat about 2-3 weeks after infection. They can also develop earlier, much later or don’t develop at all.

This first stage of infection is called primary syphilis and the sores, called chancres, can be any size or shape.

The ulcers are often painless, don’t bleed and can feel like a hard button on your skin. You may not notice them, especially if they are on anal skin, inside the anus, the cervix, or in the mouth.

If there is no treatment, the ulcers usually heal within a few weeks but the infection does not go away.

Two to six months after getting infected, the secondary stage of syphilis occurs.
Symptoms may include a flu-like illness, a rash on the torso, palms, and soles of the feet, swollen glands, wart-like lumps around the moist areas of the body, and hair loss.

The rash looks like rough, red or brown spots but these are usually not itchy.

Some people also get headaches, tiredness and pains in the bones, muscles and joints.
You can feel quite unwell during this stage.

When the body detects an STI, the immune system tries to destroy the infection.
If you do not get treatment, the immune response can cause secondary symptoms which can come and go for up to a year after the initial infection.

Even when these symptoms go away, you are still infectious. Some people will never develop symptoms and will only learn that they have syphilis after having a blood test.

After two years of infection you are no longer infectious to other people. This stage of the infection is called late latent syphilis and treatment at this stage is very important to prevent long-term consequences. For some people, untreated syphilis can turn into tertiary syphilis, sometimes up to 20 years after first infected.

Tertiary syphilis can cause serious problems with nerves, and the large vessels near the heart. Blindness, numbness and brain damage can also occur.

It is very important for all women to be tested for syphilis during pregnancy as an infected woman can pass syphilis onto her unborn baby through the placenta. This is called congenital syphilis and can be a severe, disabling and life-threatening infection for babies. The earlier syphilis is treated during the pregnancy, the lower the risk of the baby being affected.

Syphilis can also increase the risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs.

Syphilis can be easily treated with injections of antibiotics.

Syphilis and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, using sterile injecting equipment, and having regular sexual health check ups. If you are diagnosed with syphilis you must ensure that you or your health provider notify your sexual partners so that they can get tested and treatment if needed.

Syphilis male

Transcript: Syphilis male 

Syphilis is a highly infectious sexually transmissible infection or STI, that is passed on during intimate skin-on-skin contact or vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person. It has several stages and can be infectious over a long time.

The first signs of syphilis are often sores or ulcers on or inside the genitals, mouth, or throat about 2-3 weeks after infection. They can also develop earlier, much later or don’t develop at all.

This first stage of infection is called primary syphilis and the sores, called chancres, can be any size or shape.

The ulcers are often painless, don’t bleed and can feel like a hard button on your skin. You may not notice them, especially if they are on anal skin, inside the anus or inside the mouth.

If there is no treatment, the ulcers usually heal within a few weeks but the infection does not go away.

Two to six months after getting infected, the secondary stage of syphilis occurs.
Symptoms may include a flu-like illness, a rash on the torso, palms, and soles of the feet, swollen glands, wart-like lumps around the moist areas of the body, and hair loss.

The rash looks like rough, red or brown spots but these are usually not itchy.

Some people also get headaches, tiredness and pains in the bones, muscles and joints.
You can feel quite unwell during this stage.

When the body detects an STI, the immune system tries to destroy the infection.
If you do not get treatment, the immune response can cause secondary symptoms which can come and go for up to a year after the initial infection.

Even when these symptoms go away you are still infectious. Some people will never develop symptoms and will only learn that they have syphilis after having a blood test.

After two years of infection, you are no longer infectious to other people. This stage of the infection is called late latent syphilis and treatment at this stage is very important to prevent long-term consequences. For some people, untreated syphilis can turn into tertiary syphilis, sometimes up to 20 years after first infected.

Tertiary syphilis can cause serious problems with nerves, the brain and the large vessels near the heart. Blindness, numbness and brain damage can also occur.

If your partner is pregnant, remind her that it is very important for all women to be tested for syphilis during pregnancy as an infected woman can pass syphilis onto her unborn baby through the placenta.

This is called congenital syphilis and can be a severe, disabling and life-threatening infection for babies. The earlier syphilis is treated during the pregnancy, the lower the risk of the baby being affected.

Syphilis can also increase the risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs.

Syphilis can be easily treated with injections of antibiotics.

Syphilis and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, using sterile injecting equipment, and having regular sexual health check ups. If you are diagnosed with syphilis you must ensure that you or your health provider notify your sexual partners so that they can get tested and treatment if needed.

Gonorrhoea female

Transcript: Gonorrhoea female

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmissible infection or STI that is passed between partners during unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

It can infect the cervix, rectum, throat, and even the eyes. It can also infect the urethra. This is the thin tube connected to the bladder through which urine passes.

Without treatment, gonorrhoea can spread into the uterus and the fallopian tubes, which are tubes connecting the uterus to the ovaries.

When the body detects an STI, the immune system tries to destroy the infection.
There are often no symptoms during this immune response, but sometimes the area can become inflamed and sore.

As the STI is killed and immune system cells die off, they sometimes form a discharge at the opening of the vagina.

The inflammation that occurs in the cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes is called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID.

PID can present as mild abdominal pain which can be missed if women mistake it for period pain. It can also cause pain or bleeding during or after sex.  PID can also cause scarring which can block the fallopian tubes and may result in infertility, as sperm released during ejaculation cannot travel through the tubes to fertilise the egg.

Damaged or scarred fallopian tubes can also impact on the process of moving a fertilised egg through the tube towards the uterus at the start of pregnancy.

The egg may then attach itself to the fallopian tube where it begins to grow. This is called an ectopic pregnancy and can be very dangerous.

Gonorrhoea can also be passed from mother to baby during delivery, causing an infection in the newborn’s eyes.

Some types of gonorrhoea are resistant to antibiotics and can therefore be difficult to treat. If diagnosed and treated for gonorrhoea, it is important to have a follow up visit with a health provider to check that the gonorrhoea has been cleared.

Gonorrhoea and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, having regular sexual health check ups and ensuring you or your health provider notify sexual partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Gonorrhoea male

Transcript: Gonorrhoea male 

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmissible infection or STI that is passed between partners during unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex.

It can infect the urethra, anus, throat, and even the eyes.

Gonorrhoea travels up the urethra where it can cause pain or a burning sensation while urinating, although some people will have no symptoms.

As the body’s immune system fights the STI, dead cells from the immune system, and cells that die as a result of the infection are sometimes passed out as a discharge or pus.

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can also continue further into the reproductive system, affecting the seminal vesicles, vas deferens, epididymis and the testicles.

Because the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles are so small, any scarring as a result of infection can contribute to reduced sperm count and infertility. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause chronic epididymitis, and prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate gland.

Some types of gonorrhoea are resistant to antibiotics and can therefore be difficult to treat. If diagnosed and treated for gonorrhoea it is important to have a follow up visit with a health provider to check that the gonorrhoea has been cleared.

Gonorrhoea and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, having regular sexual health check ups and ensuring you or your health provider notify sexual partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Herpes

Transcript: Herpes 

Herpes simplex virus or HSV can manifest in the skin around the mouth or around the genitals.

In both cases, herpes can present as a common cold sore or a cluster of small blisters, skin splits or sores. However, in most cases there are no symptoms at all and people often do not know they have it.

Herpes lives in the skin at the site of infection. It can be transmitted when no symptoms are felt or visible. However, the virus is most contagious when sores are present.

Genital herpes is spread with the infected skin on the mouth or genitals coming in contact with the intact skin of the penis, vagina or anus.

Herpes ulcers can form in or on the vagina, anus, penis or scrotum which can then cause pain when going to the toilet. In some cases people can also have flu-like symptoms, tingling, itching or painful blisters or fever. People who develop genital herpes sores are also at a higher risk of contracting HIV.

Herpes can not be cured, although there are antiviral medications available that can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms or help prevent the outbreaks of sores.

It is very difficult to avoid the herpes virus as it is very common and so many people do not know they have it. You can avoid kissing or sex with someone who has active sores on the mouth, lips, genitals or anal area.

Using condoms can also reduce your likelihood of contracting herpes, however they do not completely prevent it.

Blood to blood transmission

Transcript: Blood to  blood transmission

Blood cannot enter your body through the skin but it can enter through your bloodstream. This can be through a break or microscopic tear in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, penis or anus.

Blood-to-blood contact with another person is risky as blood can carry viruses.

Once inside the body contaminated blood will mix with your blood and may transfer viruses like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

You can take protective measures to avoid blood-borne viruses like HIV and other STIs.

Use condoms and water-based lubricant during sex.

Don’t inject with used injecting equipment.

Avoid getting piercings and tattoos where they may be using unsterile equipment or in an unsterile environment.

And do not share personal hygiene equipment like toothbrushes, tweezers or razor blades.

If you think you may have been exposed to a blood-borne virus you should see a health care provider.

HIV

Transcript: HIV 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is transmitted from person to person through blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breastmilk. HIV can enter the body through the lining of the vagina, penis, or anus during sex without a condom, through sharing injecting equipment or through breastfeeding.

Once it is in the body, HIV travels through the blood and targets key elements of the immune system called T cells.

HIV particles search and find special receptors called CD4 receptors on the outside of the T cell. The virus then merges with the T cell and begins to insert its genetic material.

HIV genetic material, RNA, is converted to make a DNA copy of HIV RNA to be able to insert itself into the genetic material of the T cell.

The converted material is then able to insert itself into the genetic material of the T cell to make HIV provirus.

Now the virus uses the reproductive cycle of the T cell to make copies of its own genetic structure.

The new copies of the HIV RNA create new HIV virus particles that exit the cell and recommence the reproductive cycle in another cell.

The HIV reproductive cycle has seriously damaged the T cell, which will now die.

If a person living with HIV does not take treatment to prevent the ongoing destruction of the T cells and HIV replication, their immune system may eventually break down and they can develop Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, known as AIDS.

While there is no cure for HIV, treatment options have improved so much that people living with HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives. Daily HIV treatment can prevent further virus replication, keep the person well, and prevent onward transmission to others. This treatment is sometimes called Anti-retroviral therapy or ART.

There is also medication available called Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, that may prevent infection after a recent exposure to HIV.  HIV negative people can also take HIV medication before they are exposed to the virus to prevent HIV infection. This is called Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.

HIV and other STIs can be prevented by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, using sterile injecting equipment, having regular sexual health check ups and ensuring you or your health provider notify your sexual partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Last updated: 27 May 2019