Sexually Transmitted Infections



Video by NHS Choices

 

6 most common STIs amongst young people in the UK:

Chlamydia

Symptoms can include: Most people don’t actually develop any symptoms for some time, so a lot of people have it and don’t know it. Some symptoms can include unusual vaginal or penile discharge, pain when passing urine, pain / bleeding during / after sex, abdominal pain and pain in the testicles. If left untreated it can lead to more serious health consequences, including infertility. If caught early enough, chlamydia can be cured using antibiotics. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Student Welfare, Student Health, Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, MESMAC, your GP. You can also order a postal kit online.

Test involves: Usually you just provide a urine sample, which is then sent away for testing. Women have the option of a vaginal self-swab instead if they prefer. At GUM clinics sometimes swabs can taken as well. NB most tests have a 2-week window period, meaning that you should wait 2 weeks after potential exposure to chlamydia before taking the test. It's also worth remembering that postal test kits are unlikely to detect chlamydia that's been transmitted orally or anally - if you think you may have contracted chlamydia though one of these ways then the Leeds Sexual health Clinic is the best place to go for more accurate testing.
 

Genital Warts

Symptoms can include: Small white / pinkish / cauliflower-shaped growths, usually around the groin area. However it can take a few months for these symptoms to appear. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, your GP.

Test involves: Physical examination by doctor or nurse.
 

Gonorrhoea

Symptoms can include: Unusual vaginal or penile discharge (sometime strong-smelling), burning sensation when urinating and inflamed testicles / prostate gland. These symptoms can take a while to develop and most women won’t experience any initial symptoms at all. However if left untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and in some cases further infections that can cause arthritis. If caught early enough, gonorrhoea can usually be cured using antibiotics. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Student Welfare, Student Health, Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, MESMAC, your GP.

Test involves: Usually you just provide a urine sample, which is then sent away for testing. Women have the option of a vaginal self-swab instead if they prefer. At GUM clinics sometimes swabs can taken as well. It’s usually the same test as that used for chlamydia – the one test checks for both STIs. NB most tests have a 2-week window period, meaning that you should wait 2 weeks after potential exposure to gonorrhoea before taking the test. It's also worth remembering that postal test kits are unlikely to detect chlamydia that's been transmitted orally or anally - if you think you may have contracted chlamydia though one of these ways then the Leeds Sexual health Clinic is the best place to go for more accurate testing.


Genital Herpes

Symptoms can include: Small painful blisters eventually leaving sores, itching sensation around the groin or anal area, flu-like symptoms, burning sensation when passing urine. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, your GP.

Test involves: Physical examination by doctor or nurse. Typically swabs of any visible sores are also taken.
 

Hepatitis B

Symptoms can include: Sometimes there are no initial symptoms but usually symptoms start to develop around one to six months after infection. These can include a cough, sore throat, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in some joints and itchy skin; progressing to jaundice, yellow skin / whites of eyes, dark brown urine, light / clay-coloured stool, loss of weight and feeling sore in the abdominal area. Hepatitis B can lead to severe liver problems. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, your GP.

Test involves: Simple blood test.
 

Public Lice ('Crabs')

Symptoms can include: Itching around the pelvic area, nits (lice eggs) in the pubic hair. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, your GP.

Test involves: Visual inspection.



Some other STIs:

Syphilis

Symptoms can include: Symptoms can go unnoticed, however can include a painless sore (lasting around 2 – 3 weeks) around the genital / anus / mouth area within around three months of infection, rash on the body, flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, syphilis can result in permanent damage to vital organs and can also cause stillbirths or miscarriage. Click here for more information (NHS website).

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, your GP.

Testing involves: Blood sample, swabs taken from any visible sores, physical examination.
 

HIV

Symptoms can include: People can have HIV for years (sometimes up to around a decade) without any symptoms. However HIV can develop into AIDS, which is a severe immune system problem. Whilst there is no widely-available cure for HIV, there is treatment which can vastly improve quality and quantity of life. HIV can be transmitted through bodily fluids, most commonly involving unprotected sex (between both straight and gay partners) but also through other means such as sharing needles. Click here for more information (NHS website).

NB there is an emergency treatment available if you believe you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours – visit the PEP page for details.

Testing available at: Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, MESMAC, your GP.

Test involves: Simple blood test. For many testing sites this is just a matter of a tiny finger prick and dabbing a speck of blood on a test strip; you then get the results within a few minutes.
 

If you’re outside the Leeds area, visit your GP or find your nearest sexual health service using the NHS Choices Service Finder.

 

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