STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are becoming more and more common in Europe, meaning that the risk of becoming infected is increasing for people who are sexually active. Anyone who engages in any kind of sexual activity without a condom should be aware of the dangers of doing so, and be regularly tested for STIs.
There are three main types of STIs: viral, bacterial or parasitic. Viral infections such as genital herpes or genital warts are treatable but cannot be cured, which means a patient may experience recurrent outbreaks. The most common bacterial infections are gonorrhoea and chlamydia. They are easily treatable with medication but because they may not show symptoms, they are often left untreated, which can lead to long-term health problems and even infertility. Parasitic STIs, such as trichomonas vaginalis, are uncomfortable but treatable with medication.
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Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK, particularly amongst people under the age of 25. One of the reasons for its rapid spread is the fact that it often presents no symptoms, especially in women. The only way to confirm whether or...
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection which is colloquially referred to as "the clap". It is increasingly common in the UK, particularly among younger age groups (16-19 for women and 20-24 for men). It can be transmitted via...
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is characterised by the appearance of small fleshy lumps around the genital area which are usually painless and do not pose a serious health...
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection which causes blisters and rashes around the genital area. It is caused by the same type of virus that causes cold sores around the mouth and cannot be cured with medication. Although the...
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), also known as gardnerella vaginalis, is a very common condition that affects women. It is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria that grows naturally in the vagina and very often presents no symptoms, although some...
They are spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner. This doesn't necessarily mean vaginal intercourse; you can also contract an STI through skin contact including anal and oral sex. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself and your partner during penetration, as all other forms of contraception will protect solely against pregnancy. There are many people who aren't aware that they are infected, so it is important to be regularly tested if you are having unprotected sex.
Why not check out our sexual health blog for information on STI's and news on sexual health
The only way to be certain of whether or not you are infected is to be tested by a doctor. You can arrange a test by going to your local sexual health clinic or speaking to your GP. Even if you think your chances of having contracted an STI are low, you should still consult a medical professional if you are experiencing symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of the most common infections include unusual discharge or bleeding from the penis, vagina or anus, pain during sex or while urinating, pelvic or abdominal pain and unusual blisters, rashes or sores in the genital area.
STIs can be dangerous when left untreated, which is relatively common for bacterial infections such as chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhoea, and can present no recognisable symptoms in a patient. Antibiotics are usually used to treat these if they are caught early, but they can lead to serious consequences if they are not.
Viral infections are often incurable, but this doesn't mean that they can't be treated. HIV is the most dangerous of these as it shuts down your immune system, meaning your body is no longer able to fight other infections. Over recent decades HIV treatments have improved to the extent that, if diagnosed early enough, a patient can live a long and healthy life.
Although most infections are not life threatening, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid health complications and make sure you do not infect any future sexual partners.
There is treatment available for all STIs, but it is important to ensure you are taking the right medication for your condition. Bacterial STIs can usually be completely cured with a course of antibiotics, whereas viral STIs will require a more permanent treatment to avoid future outbreaks. There are also treatments available for parasitic infections, which will usually clear up quite easily with the right medication.
Yes. Once you have been diagnosed with an STI you can buy a treatment safely and confidentially from 121doc. You will be required to complete an online medical consultation which will help us to ensure the medication will be effective for you. Once this has been reviewed and you have been issued a prescription, a pharmacy will dispatch your order using our free next day delivery service.