Sexual health services are facing a crisis, but what are the most frequently transmitted sexual health diseases?
This bacterial infection is the most common in the UK. In the last six years, cases have doubled. In women under 25 it is thought to affect as many as nine per cent. Symptoms can include inflammation of the urethra and discharge in men. Women often have no symptoms, but the condition can result in pelvic inflammation and infertility. Antibiotics are used to treat it.
An extremely common STI caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), it causes infection of the mucous membranes. Small lumps develop on or near the vagina, vulva, anus and penis. It can be associated with cancer. Genital warts are treated with chemical paints.
A recurring condition which sees the sufferer develop small blisters on the vulva or penis, it’s often accompanied by a flu-like illness. Antiviral drug therapy can be used to reduce the symptoms and prevent reinfection. However, there is no cure. An episode suffered towards the end of pregnancy could put the baby at risk.
More common in men, gonorrhoea causes discharge from the penis and pain on urinating. Women often show no symptoms, but if it spreads to the fallopian tubes, it can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, with pelvic pain, especially during sex. Antibiotics can be used, but some strains of the condition show evidence of resistance to common treatments. Untreated, gonorrhoea can cause septicaemia and is particularly dangerous to the unborn babies of affected mothers-to-be.
HIV and Aids
HIV can cause a range of symptoms, starting with mild muscle aches, rashes and low-grade fevers. Eventually, the immune system weakens and it becomes difficult for sufferers to fight off conditions such as cancer, TB and pneumonia. Modern treatments have transformed the virus from a fatal condition to a long-term chronic illness. However, left untreated, HIV will almost always develop into AIDS. It is recommended sexually active individuals are tested regularly, and STI testing kits in London such as those from checkurself can help with this.
Hepatitis B and C are both very common in the UK. Symptoms include inflammation of the liver, aches and pains, nausea and vomiting. Treatment includes vaccination and drugs to reduce the chances of liver damage.