Stop The Itch: Learn About STIs
Sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections, venereal diseases – whatever you want to call them, infections spread by sexual intercourse have been recorded in human history as far back as 1550 BC in the famous Ebers papyrus. Well, it goes without saying that these issues have continued to plague sexually-active populations across modern society, affecting people from all walks of life. So isn’t it time to get yourself clued up on the world of STI’s? Your private doctors at London Doctors Clinic are here to get you up-to-speed on the topic of STI’s.
Could it be an STI?
As you can image, there are many different STIs a person can catch and symptoms will not only depend on the type of disease-causing agent, i.e. the pathogen, but also whether the person is male or female and the kind of sexual activity they engage in. To make things even more complex, not all STIs result in symptoms – in some cases symptoms will appear a while after infection while in some the infection will remain asymptomatic for good.
However, there are some generalised symptoms usually associated with the wide range of STIs out there:
- burning, stinging or pain during urination (dysuria
frequent urination (polyuria)
ongoing itchiness of the penis, vagina or anus
redness, blisters, sores, bumps or any surface changes on and around the penis, vagina or anus
lower abdominal pain
bleeding after intercourse
bleeding between periods
discharge from the penis or vagina
unusual odour of the penis or vagina
Due to their nature, STI symptoms can often be embarrassing to discuss – and understandably so, sex is very personal to most people! However, it’s important to remember that our Private GPs have seen so many cases of STIs that not much will be a surprise to them! After all they’re professionally trained to deal with sensitive and highly personal health issues such as this. At LDC, we also follow strict guidelines regarding patient confidentiality, and will never share any of your patient information (even an NHS GP) without your explicit written consent.
So if you’re worried about any of the above symptoms, don’t be too embarrassed to bring them up in a private GP consultation – it’ll save you worrying and experiencing potential health issues in the future!
So what are the most common STIs?
The ten most common STIs in the UK are:
Anogenital warts (caused by human papilloma virus, HPV)
Genital herpes (caused by the herpes simplex virus, HSV)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Trichomoniasis (caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis)
Chlamydia: the most common STI
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK – in 2013, over 200,000 people tested positive in England and almost 7 in every 10 people diagnosed were under 25 years old.
Most people don’t experience symptoms which is particularly tricky as they may infect others without realising. Fortunately, a simple urine or swab test can be used for quick diagnosis (the results of which can be sent to you by text!), leading to easy treatment with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to very serious health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymo-orchitis (inflamed testicles) or infertility, highlighting the importance of getting tested when it comes to sexual health.
Prevention is always easier than treatment and practising safe sex is the most effective way of preventing STIs. This mainly includes using barrier protection such as condoms, female condoms or dental dams but also other measures such as immunisation (e.g. the HPV or hepatitis B vaccines) or periodic STI testing.
Good communication and discussing prevention methods with your partner also enhances safety, reducing the probability of risky decisions being made in the heat of the moment.
Should I get tested?
If you suspect you may have contracted an STI, it is absolutely crucial that you get tested and London Doctors Clinic is a fantastic place to do it! We offer a very wide range of sexual health profiles and tests which can be done individually or added onto a full health check. The investigations vary greatly – from the number of infections they detect or the type of samples they require to the time taken for the results to arrive (sometimes just hours!) or the time needed post-exposure for the infection to be detectable.
For example, let’s take a look at our STD Quad profile. In this test we look for:
Syphylis IgG/IgM in your blood – if your immune system has encountered the syphilis bacteria Treponema pallidium then the antibodies required to fight to it (made of immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M) will be produced in greater numbers and therefore detectable
Chlamydia bacteria in your urine
HIV 1&2/p24 antigen in your blood – if you’ve been infected with HIV then it’s possible to find molecules seen on HIV surface only (antigens) in your blood
Gonorrhoea bacteria in your urine
This private STI test costs just £110.40 in addition to a consultation fee of £55, with results available in just 2 working days.
We specialise in mainly STI screening and the management of common sexual health issues. For more complex cases of STI’s. we may need to provide a specialist referral to Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) specialist.
Overall, sexual health is of utmost importance – the sooner you get things checked, the better the outcome! If you’re at all concerned about sexual health, don’t just ignore the problem and let anxiety build unnecessarily! With short-notice and same day doctor appointments available, rapid test turnaround times and a discrete, fully confidential service, there really is no excuse not to book in for a 15-minute consultation to discuss the best STI screening tailored for you.
Our private GP’s at London Doctors Clinic are helping to keep bedrooms across London itch and anxiety-free!
By Dawid Mobolaji Akala