Medicine Direct I have been asked to publish important statistics related to sexually transmitted infections.
How much do you know about sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Have you or anyone you know ever had one?
We found that 58% of the UK had never had a sexually transmitted infection test and another 12% had not had one for over five years.
This is a sizeable percentage – even if you figure out those who have probably not been tested recently because they have a long-term relationship.
It’s also a little worrying when you consider that 26% are only examined when symptoms occur. Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, can be largely asymptomatic, but their effects, especially on women, can be serious.
We also found that another 10% would only get an STI test if their sexual partner told them they had an STI. Link this to the 23% of respondents who would never feel comfortable talking about their sexual history and there is a potential that many people will find themselves with an STI.
Barriers and taboos Much of the problem associated with this relationship between sexual activity, finding regular sexual health tests, and openness to one’s sexual past can be put down to one word: taboo. Well, two words if you include “judgment”.
Sexual education has come a long way over the years, but, to our knowledge, there is still a lot to do. 33% of respondents said they were never informed about sexually transmitted diseases at school, and another 20% rated their education as bad or terrible. This means that more than half of the UK was poorly trained in STIs. The problem is that formal education is only half of the solution to make it easier to be tested regularly and treated appropriately.
We believe that we deserve to make it less scary, embarrassing and confusing (and a number of other emotional states) to include regular tests in our lifestyle.
But that’s terribly preaching, isn’t it? What did Medicine Direct do to help?
Well, we’re trying. We offer discreet sexual health kits that help you find a diagnosis quickly, easily, and painlessly. We also offer a variety of treatments for most sexually transmitted diseases. Many of these treatments are as simple as a single course of antibiotics.
In addition, we have created a visual guide for some of the most common symptoms (as described by the NHS). Oh yes, and we used fruit to visualize our guide. Why? Have you ever tried to tweet a photo of an STI symptom?
Is not well received.
We also wanted to help reduce the taboos surrounding STIs. The taboos that make people wait too long to see them, or make people feel dirty for being with something. We wanted to direct the conversation and attention to an entertaining and accessible format.
Show me the fruit!
Unusual discharge is one of the most common indicators that something is wrong. If you feel unusual discharge from the vagina, penis, or buttocks, it’s time to go for an exam or speak to a doctor.
The discharge can take various forms – from color to smell to frequency. It is therefore best to be careful. If it is not in your usual range, have yourself examined.
Discharge is a symptom most closely related to chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, there are other sexually transmitted diseases that can cause unusual discharge, such as genital herpes and trichomoniasis.
Bacterial vaginosis is a possible cause of unusual discharges that are not sexually transmitted – although it can increase susceptibility to other sexually transmitted diseases.
Most causes of discharge can be treated with a short course of antibiotics or, in some cases, with a vaginal pessary.
Lump or skin growth
Skin growth and lumps are symptoms that are most commonly associated with genital warts and are often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). If you have small fleshy lumps and bumps in your genital area, it is best to contact a sexual health specialist. Occasionally, these bumps can be textured and rough. They can also itch and in some cases bleeding from the genitals or anus can occur.
Treatment can range from a simple cream to physical removal by a doctor.
Always see a doctor if you have lumps and bumps in the genital area – in rare cases, this can be an indication of cancer.
Rashes or itching
Rashes come in a variety of forms and can be indicators of relatively harmless diseases such as yeast infections or more serious diseases such as herpes and syphilis.
Syphilis often occurs as a small and painless wound, but is often accompanied by rashes that can appear on the whole body, not just the genitals.
Because there are so many diseases that have rashes as a symptom, it is difficult to determine the cause without seeking medical advice.
Some infections, such as syphilis, do not go away on their own and can be harmful if not treated. Therefore, it is important that you get treatment as soon as you discover that something is wrong.
Pain when peeing
If you experience pain when peeing, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be remedied by a number of popular bladder infections. While these are not necessarily sexually transmitted, they can occur as a result of sexual activity if bacteria from the genital area get into and out of the piss hole (urethra) during intercourse. Most urinary tract infections can go away without antibiotics if you drink a lot of water and have no sexual contact for a week or two.
Painful urination can also be a sign of an STD such as chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, or urea plasma. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are closely related to painful peeing. If you’ve experienced this and have had unprotected sex recently, it’s time to get a test kit. If you are diagnosed, you can often be treated with a single dose of antibiotics, making treatment quick and easy.
Blisters or wounds
Blisters and wounds in your genital area can be quite a shock and should never be ignored. They are one of the easiest to recognize STI symptoms and can be uncomfortable and painful – even if a wound or blister is not painful, it does not mean that it can be ignored!
Herpes, genital warts and gonorrhea are the main causes of wounds and blisters in the genital and anal areas.
We can’t cure herpes right now. You may experience worrying outbreaks on a regular basis. During this time, you may be prescribed antiviral medication to limit the severity and pain of these outbreaks. It is entirely possible to have a full, safe and exciting sex life while living with herpes. However, it is important that you are fully open to all sexual partners you are facing.
Treatment with cefixime gonorrhea in combination with azithromycin eliminates the infection in just a single dose. Even if this sounds like a simple solution, you should never ignore something that doesn’t look right or doesn’t feel right.
Unusual vaginal bleeding
If you have vaginal bleeding outside of your normal time window and you recently had an unprotected sexual experience, you may have an STI.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can both cause vaginal bleeding because they cause inflammation and irritation in the uterus (uterus), and this symptom can be specifically referred to as pelvic inflammatory disease.
While there are cases where there are symptoms of something relatively harmless, you should always consult a doctor if you have vaginal bleeding between periods.
It can be an indicator of something that needs treatment, and it can even be an indicator of cancer.
As mentioned earlier, some STIs may have no symptoms. For this reason, it is important to incorporate regular sexual health tests into your lifestyle, as problems can sometimes arise. If left untreated for a long time, fertility problems can arise in both men and women. It is estimated that up to a third of all infertility cases in the UK are due to the consequences of undiagnosed chlamydia.
Predictive If you notice any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to get tested. We offer self-test kits that are simple and easy to use and come in discreet packaging. As soon as you have received your diagnosis or already know your condition, we offer a variety of fast and effective treatment options and will be happy to advise you if you need them.
There are also a number of NHS clinics and facilities across the country where you can get advice, testing and treatment.
There is no definitive answer to how often you should be tested. If you have a regular and varied sex life with unknown partners, it is probably best to be protected as well as possible in the first case and to be tested before each new partner.
Being open to your partners about your sexual past is not only a good idea, but also responsible and considerate.
If in doubt, try it out.
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