Sexually transmitted infections ( STIs) are passed from one person to another through unprotected sex or genital contact.
Getting tested and treated for STI is straightforward and confidential. Most infections can be cured with appropriate antibiotics. For others such as HIV and Herpes there is no cure but can be controlled with medication allowing you to lead a near normal life. We can offer you tests for STIs and advise you on where to go for further treatment, help and support.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs. It is passed on from one person to another through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. Most people don’t experience any symptoms, so they are unaware they are infected.
Symptoms in Females include
- most have no symptoms
- pain or burning sensation when passing urine
- vaginal discharge
- pain in lower abdomen during sex or after sex
- bleeding during or after sex or between periods
- heavy periods
Symptoms in Males include
- most have no symptoms
- a white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis
- pain or tenderness in the testicles
You can have Chlamydia infection in the rectum, throat or eyes. Diagnosis is by a urine test or taking a swab of the affected area. The infection is treated with appropriate antibiotics. It can cause serious long term health problems if left untreated.
Anyone who is sexually active can catch Chlamydia. You can prevent catching the infection and spreading it by
- using a condom every time you have vaginal, or anal sex
- using condom to cover the penis during oral sex
- using a dam (a piece of thin, soft plastic or latex) to cover the female genital during oral sex or when rubbing female genitals together
- not sharing sex toys
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI easily passed on during sex. About 50%of women and 10% of men don’t experience any symptoms and are unaware of their infection. It is passed on through
- unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
- sharing sex toys
In women, Gonorrhoea can cause pain or burning when passing urine, watery, yellow, or green vaginal discharge, pain in the lower abdomen and abnormal vaginal bleeding. In men Gonorrhoea can cause pain or burning when passing urine, a watery, yellow, or green discharge from the tip of the penis and pain or tenderness in the testicles. Gonorrhoea can infect the rectum, throat or eyes. Gonorrhoea is diagnosed using a urine test or by taking a swab of the affected area. The infection is easily treated with appropriate antibiotics. It can also lead to very serious long-term health problems if left untreated. It is recommended that you attend a follow up appointment after treatment so another test can be carried out to see if you are clear of the infection. Prevention of Gonorrhoea follows the same procedure as Chlamydia.
Syphilis is STI caused by the bacteria Treponema Pallidum. It is passed on through unprotected sex and by sharing sex toys. The first symptoms may take 10-21 days to appear after infection The most common symptom is a painless sore that appears where the virus was transmitted, normally on the penis, vagina, anus or mouth. The sore will disappear in 2-6 weeks. If you are not treated, the infection will move to the second stage. The Symptoms vary from person to person.
If you think you have syphilis, contact Lomack Sexual Health Clinic as soon as possible.
Symptoms of secondary syphilis begins a few weeks after the disappearance of the sore and includes
- a non- itchy rash
- small skin growths on the vulva in women and (around the anus in both men and women)
- Flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, joint pains and fever
- swollen glands
- weight loss
- hair loss
These symptoms may disappear within a week or come and go over a period for months. Without treatment, Syphilis becomes latent, whereby you do not experience any symptoms even though you remain infected. You can remain in the stage for years. You then move into the most dangerous stage–Tertiary Syphilis. The symptoms at this stage include Stroke, Dementia, loss of co-ordination, numbness, paralysis, blindness, deafness, heart disease, and skin rashes. At this stage Syphilis can cause death.
A simple blood test can usually be used to diagnose Syphilis at any stage. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. When treated properly the later stages can be prevented and you need to have regular blood tests for at least a year after treatment. Avoid having sex until the sores have healed. Any current or recent sexual partner should be tested and treated.
Safer is the best way to prevent Syphilis. Use a condom every time you have sex. Use a dental dam for anal or oral sex.
If you are worried about Syphilis or any other STI or have had unprotected sex make sure you get tested at Lomack Sexual Health Clinic.
Herpes is an STI caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. There are two types of HSV
- HSV -1 causes cold sores around the mouth and lips
- HSV-2 causes cold sores around the genitals and rectum- known as Genital herpes
Most people do not experience symptoms when first infected and it can take years to develop. If symptoms do occur when first infected, they usually develop in 4-7 days. Symptoms are normally more severe the first time than in re-occurring infections. The first time you are infected with HSV is called the primary infection. Symptoms for the first time include
- small blisters that burst to leave red, open sores around the genitals, rectum, thighs and buttocks
- blisters and ulcers on the cervix in women
- vaginal discharge in women
- pain when passing urine
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains, and Flu–like symptoms
These symptoms can last up to 20 days. Though symptoms of the genital herpes clears up, the virus may occasionally reactivate causing outbreaks. Symptoms of a recurrent outbreak include
- a tingling , burning or itching sensation around the genitals, rectum and buttocks
- painful red blisters that burst to leave sores around the genital, rectum and the buttocks
- blisters and ulcers around the cervix in women
Recurrent outbreaks are shorter and become less severe as your body learns to fight the virus more effectively. Diagnosis is by taking a swab from the blisters. Although there is no cure for genital herpes, the symptoms can usually be controlled using antiviral medicines.
Genital warts are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around the genital or anal area… They are caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) The warts are usually painless but you may notice some itching or redness. HPV is spread by skin to skin contact. Several treatments are available for genital warts, including- creams and freezing the warts (Cryotherapy)
Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas Vaginalis. It can be easily passed on through sex and most people don’t know that they are infected. In women, Trichomoniasis can cause a frothy yellow or watery vaginal discharge that has an unpleasant smell, soreness or itching around the vagina and pain when passing urine. In men, Trichomoniasis rarely causes symptoms. But you may experience pain or burning after passing urine, a whitish discharge or inflamed foreskin.
If you are worried about Trichomoniasis or have unprotected sex, whether you have symptoms or not make sure you get tested. Call us at Lomack Sexual Health Clinic
The Doctor may examine your genital area for any visible symptoms and take either a vaginal or penis swab. A urine sample can also be taken. You may be tested for other STI such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Trichomoniasis is easily treated with appropriate antibiotics, usually Metronidazole. To avoid re-infection, avoid having sex during your treatment. Any recent sexual partners should also be tested and treated.
Pubic Lice (Crabs) are easily passed to others through genital contact. They are usually found in pubic hair but can live in underarm hair, body hair, beard, eyebrows or eyelashes.
The lice crawl from hair to hair. It may take several weeks for you to notices any symptoms Most people experience itching or you may notice the lice or eggs on the hair. Pubic lice can be treated with creams or shampoos.
Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites (called Sarcoptes Scabiei) that burrow into the skin.The main symptoms of scabies is intense itching that is worse at night. The itching can be in your genital area, but also often occurs between the fingers, on wrists and ankles, under the arms or on the body and breasts. It also causes a skin rash on areas where the mites have burrowed. Scabies can be treated using special creams or shampoos. The itching can sometimes continue for a short period even after effective treatment.
Hepatitis B or HBV is part of the group of Hepatitis viruses that causes inflammation of the Liver. Hepatitis is passed on through unprotected sex, vaginal, anal oral and contaminated needles. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing towels, razor blades and toothbrushes with an infected person if there is infected blood on them.
Symptoms may appear any time from 2-6 months after initial infection. Some people don’t notice any symptoms until they become quite severe. There are two stages of infection – Acute and Chronic acute stage
- feeling sick and/or vomiting
- aching muscles and joints
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
Symptoms can last up to 2 months. Most can make a full recovery without treatment. For others, the virus moves to the chronic stage. At this stage you are at risk of liver failure, Liver disease and cancer of the liver. This can take years to develop.
If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B, contact Lomack Sexual Health Clinic now.
A simple blood test will show whether you have the virus. You may also have a liver function test to determine if your liver is damaged.
Most people do not need treatment and recover after a few months. Usually, symptoms are managed at home but if pain becomes severe, painkillers will be prescribed. You will need regular blood tests and physical check–ups. If you have chronic infection you will be prescribed specific treatment to reduce the risk of permanent Liver damage and Liver Cancer.
Preventing Hepatitis B
You can be immunised against Hepatitis B.
Lomack Sexual Health clinic can offer you Hepatitis B immunisation if you at risk of catching it.
Using condoms every time you have sex offers some protection against Hepatitis B. Also avoid unlicensed tattoo parlours or acupuncturists.
Hepatitis C or PCB is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is passed mainly through sharing of dirty needles while injecting drugs, sharing a toothbrush or razor with infected blood on them. It can also be transmitted through unprotected sex. Usually symptoms will appear in the first six months, known as Acute Stage. Infection has two stages as in Hepatitis B. In the chronic stage the virus lives in the body for many years . You may or may not have symptoms at the chronic stage. Symptoms may include, headaches, mood swings, mental health and memory issues, indigestion, itchy skin, stomach pain and pain in the Liver area. You can still pass on the virus to others even if you do not have symptoms.
You may not experience any symptoms with HCV, it is important that to get tested. Contact Lomack Sexual Health Clinic and get tested
A simple blood test shows if you have Hepatitis C by detecting antibodies to the virus. Most people with HCV do not need treatment. You will have regular check ups and liver function blood tests. Those with chronic infection are treated with specific medications. Without appropriate treatment HCV can cause Liver Cirrhosis ( scarring of the Liver) Liver failure and Liver Cancer.