Our Clinics

Our clinics offer a free and confidential sexual health service to everyone in Herefordshire, regardless of your age, gender or sexual orientation. We won’t judge or lecture you. You are not on your own and help is available, if you think you may have put yourself at risk of an STI.

STIs come in all forms and with a variety of signs and symptoms.   The following pages tell you about how they’re caught, how they’re treated and how to avoid them.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in people under the age of 25, (it does  affect all ages).  It’s the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis that causes this infection.

Symptoms

It’s sometimes called the silent infection because there are often no obvious signs of being infected with Chlamydia, so you may not know you have it.  Although infected people often don’t experience any symptoms, their fertility (ability to have children) can be affected if they don’t get treated.

Some of the symptoms you may experience after 3-4 weeks are;

  • Females can experience a variety of symptoms. These include; bleeding between periods, bleeding during or after sex, lower abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge and pain on passing urine
  • For males, symptoms can include; a white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis, pain when passing urine and pain or tenderness in the testicles
  • Both sexes can experience a burning sensation when they pass urine

Key facts:

  • 50% of males and 70% of females have no signs or symptoms of chlamydia
  • You should have a screen (test) at least every 12 months or every time you change a partner
  • Chlamydia can be detected 2 weeks after having sex
  • It can affect people of any sexuality
  • If left untreated, chlamydia it can lead to infertility in both men and women
  • Its easily passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • Pregnant women can pass it on to their unborn baby
  • It can also affect the eyes
  • Women with Chlamydia are five times more likely to become infected with HIV if they are exposed to HIV
  • Abstinence (not having sex) is the most effective way to avoid STIs like chlamydia
  • Condoms are the best for preventing infection, whether from chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection

The good news is that Chlamydia is really easy to test for and simple to treat! That’s why you should get tested if you have had any sexual activity with a potentially-infected person, or not used a condom, during sex.  

Chlamydia Testing and Treatments:

  • The results of your chlamydia test can take up to two weeks
  • We will be contact you via your chosen method (usually text) if you are found to be positive
  • If your test result is positive,
  • If you have a positive result, you should also tell your sexual partner(s) to get tested
  • The treatment is four antibiotic tablets which you have to take in clinic; with no sexual activity for seven days afterwards, to prevent it coming back
  • It is vital that you complete your course of antibiotics, even if you feel well
  • Retesting is not required. You can request a postal chlamydia testing kit by clicking here

Or you can visit one of our clinics.

Click here if you want to know more about Chlamydia

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that can affect fertility if left untreated.

Gonorrhoea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoea bacteria. Many people don’t experience any symptoms; despite this, the infection can cause long-term fertility problems (not being able to have a baby) and should be treated immediately.

Symptoms

Because gonorrhoea sometimes has no symptoms, it’s important to get tested as soon as possible after sexual contact with an infected person or if you have had sex without a condom

  • If you do get symptoms, they usually start to appear 1-14 days after contact
  • Gonorrhoea symptoms include yellow/green discharge in both men and women
  • Women may experience bleeding between periods and/or after sex
  • Abdominal pain is common in women
  • Testicular pain and/or swollen testicles are both common in men with gonorrhoea

Key facts:

  • Gonorrhoea is on the increase in young people
  • Gonorrhoea can be detected after 2 weeks
  • It can affect people of any sexuality
  • 80% of men and 50% of women who get gonorrhoea will have some symptoms

Testing and Treatment

  • To test for gonorrhoea, men just need to provide a urine sample and women perform a self-taken vaginal swab
  • Results of your test take up to two weeks and you will be contacted via your chosen method (usually text)
  • If your result is positive, the team will get in touch to arrange an appointment for you to receive treatment
  • The treatment for gonorrhoea is a course of antibiotics
  • You should always complete any course of prescribed antibiotics
  • You will be invited for a follow-up test 2 weeks after treatment to ensure it has worked

Or you can visit one of our clinics.

Click here if you want to know more about Gonorrhoea

Syphilis

Symptoms

Syphilis is a bacterial Infection that if left untreated can lead to serious health problems.  It is different to other bacterial infections as the symptoms of syphilis may eventually disappear, but you’ll usually remain infected unless you get treated

  • Stage 1 – is a very infectious stage and  you may get a painless ulcer, which usually happens  1-12 weeks after exposure (getting the infection )  – Can be treated and cured at this stage. If left untreated bacteria starts to spread to stage 2
  • Stage 2 –is a painless rash, typically on palms of hands or soles of feet, which are really unusual places to get any other type of rash – Can be treated and cured at this stage. If left untreated bacteria starts to spread to stage 3
  • Stage 3 – It starts to attack internally damaging vital organs – Can be treated and cured in the third stage but any damage already done to your body will not be reversed

Symptoms also include;

  • Small skin growths (similar to genital warts) that may develop on the vulva in women, on the penis of men or around the anus in both men and women
  • Painless ulcers
  • White patches in the mouth
  • Tiredness, headaches, joint pains, a high temperature (fever), and swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits

Key Facts

  • You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you’ve been treated for it before
  • Screening for syphilis is offered to all pregnant women so the infection can be found and treated before it causes any serious problems

Testing and Treatment

  • To test for syphilis you will need to have a blood test
  • The results of the test take up to two weeks and you will be contacted via your chosen method (usually by text)
  • If your result is positive the sexual health team will arrange an appointment for you to be treated
  • The treatment for syphilis is a prescription of antibiotics. You will be invited back for a test to check that the treatment has worked and that you no longer have syphilis

Click here if you want to know more about  Syphilis

HIV

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that suppresses the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections, diseases and other illnesses.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is the name used to describe the advanced stage of the HIV infection, when the immune system has been damaged because of the HIV virus.

HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. This means that it can be passed on (caught) by sharing needles or syringes or having unprotected sex. The virus can also be passed on through oral sex; however, this is much less common than anal and vaginal intercourse.

Symptoms

Some people experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after becoming infected. However, as there are no obvious signs or symptoms, we recommend that you get tested immediately if you feel you may be at risk.  Between 70 and 90% of people experience ‘acute’ symptoms one to six weeks after they have been infected with HIV.

These symptoms last for a few days to weeks and include:

  • Severe flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Rash on the chest
  • If HIV is not treated, it may progress to an advanced, life-threatening stage —AIDS
  • There is a period of up to 10 years between infection with HIV and the development of an AIDS-defining illness, in which a person may not experience any symptoms at all

Key Facts

  • HIV can affect people of any sexuality
  • Can be detected after 4 weeks
  • You can only be certain you are HIV-positive (or negative) if you get tested.
  • People with HIV can usually have a normal life expectancy if they receive an early diagnosis and receive and take regular treatment
  • Most people with HIV who receive treatment will not go on to develop AIDS
  • Evidence tells us that people infected with HIV who are virally suppressed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others, this is dependent upon how well people with HIV adhere to their prescribed treatment
  • The Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) slogan is based on the fact that if you can‘t detect it, you can‘t transmit it

Testing and Treatment

There is currently no cure for HIV and Aids, but there are a number of Antiretroviral medications available which help the immune system to repair itself and stop the virus from replicating within the body.  These are currently lifetime treatments, which are taken every day.

With treatment, HIV will not develop into AIDS. Getting tested early means that you can access this treatment if you have got HIV, which will stop you from ever getting AIDS.

If you have put yourself at risk it is incredibly important to get tested, regardless of whether you have symptoms.

Where to get tested?

Home HIV tests are available in two forms:

Home-sampling kits

  • You take a small sample of blood or saliva at home and post the sample to a laboratory for testing
  • You receive results by telephone or text within a week
  • Testing is accurate if carried out three months after you have been at risk of getting HIV
  • Home-sampling kits are free
  • If the test is positive you will need to get further advice and any further tests or treatment from your local sexual health service

Home-testing kits

  • You extract a spot of blood and test it yourself, at home
  • You read your result at home, within 15 minutes of testing
  • If your result is positive, you need to get your result confirmed at a clinic
  • Testing is accurate if carried out more than three months after you have been at risk of getting HIV
  • You can purchase a home-testing kit online here or from a pharmacy
  • It’s important to ensure that your home-testing kit has a ‘CE’ quality assurance mark—otherwise the kit may not work

Or you can access our clinics to get your test.

You can click on the link below to get an online test for self-testing at home.

Click here if you want to know more about  HIV

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Key Facts

  • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
  • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
  • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

Hepatitis A

Symptoms

The symptoms of hepatitis A usually start around 4 weeks after becoming infected, although not everyone gets symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Feeling tired and generally unwell
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • A raised temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Pain in the upper right part of your tummy
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark pee and pale poo
  • Itchy skin

The symptoms will usually pass within a couple of months. Hepatitis A is not usually serious, I but it’s still important to seek help, so  that more serious conditions with similar symptoms can be ruled out, such as hepatitis C or scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).

Testing and Treatment

If you have symptoms of hepatitis A – a blood test can usually confirm whether you have the infection, speak to your GP.

Vaccination

Vaccination against hepatitis A is not routinely offered in the UK because the risk of infection is low for most people.

It’s only recommended for people at an increased risk, including:

  • Close contacts of someone with hepatitis A
  • People with any type of long-term liver disease
  • Men who have sex with other men
  • People who inject illegal drugs

The hepatitis A vaccine is usually available for free on the NHS for anyone who needs it. If you are concerned or want further advice go to see your GP.

Other Treatment for Hepatitis A

There’s currently no cure for hepatitis A. But it usually gets better on its own within a couple of months, whilst you are ill;

  • Get plenty of rest 
  • Take painkillers, for any aches and pains 
  • Eat small, light meals to help reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Avoid alcohol to reduce the strain on your liver
  • Avoid having sex until at least a week after your jaundice or other symptoms started
  • Practise good hygiene, such as washing your hands with soap and water regularly

For most people, hepatitis A gets better within 2 months and there are no long-term effects.

Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Key Facts

  • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
  • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
  • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

Hepatitis B

Symptoms

Lots of people with hepatitis B won’t get any symptoms and may even fight off the virus without realising they had it.

If you do get symptoms, they usually happen 2 or 3 months after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis B include:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, a fever, and general aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tummy pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Symptoms usually go within 1 to 3 months (acute hepatitis B), although sometimes the infection can last for 6 months or more (chronic hepatitis B).

Testing and Treatment

You may be offered vaccinations against hepatitis B depending on your sexual history and associated risks

Hepatitis B can be serious.

Get medical advice if:

  • You think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus
  • You have symptoms associated with hepatitis B
  • You’re at a high risk of hepatitis B – high-risk groups include; people born in a country where the infection is common, and people who have ever injected drugs

You can go to your local GP surgery, drug service, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic for help and advice.

A blood test can be carried out to check if you have hepatitis B or have had it in the past.

Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Key Facts

  • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
  • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
  • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.

However, with modern treatments it’s usually possible to cure the infection, and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.

Symptoms

Hepatitis C is often different for each person; many find some of their symptoms come and go and symptoms include:

  • Mild to serious tiredness (fatigue)
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite and/or feeling sick
  • Inability to tolerate alcohol
  • Discomfort in the liver area (place your right hand over your lower right ribs and it will just about cover the area of your liver)
  • Problems concentrating (brain fog)
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Itchy skin (pruritus)
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats and headaches
  • Jaundice

Testing and Treatment

Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.

There are different types of Hepatitis C, and knowing which type helps to get the right type of treatment.   Effective treatments for hepatitis C are now available and can result in you permanently clearing hepatitis C

Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis C

Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by an infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is passed between sexual partners through skin-to-skin contact.

Symptoms

  • 1 or more painless growths or lumps around your vagina, penis or anus
  • itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus
  • a change to your normal flow of pee (for example, sideways) that doesn’t go away

Key Facts

  • The infection can be passed on during sexual contact, not just intercourse
  • Ordinary wart treatments from a pharmacy DO NOT work
  • The genital warts virus can be passed on whether or not there are visible warts, which is why it’s the second most commonest STI in young people
  • Visible warts may appear over the whole genital area

Testing and Treatment

There’s no cure for genital warts but it’s possible for your body to clear the virus over time. There are a number of different treatments for genital warts.  The type of treatment you’ll be offered depends on what your warts are like. The doctor or nurse will discuss this with you.

  • You may be offered cream or liquid, which you can usually apply yourself a few times a week for several weeks
  • Minor surgery: a doctor or nurse can cut, burn or laser the warts off
  • Freezing: a doctor or nurse freezes the warts, usually every week for 4 weeks

The treatment may cause soreness, irritation or a burning sensation and some scarring. Also it can take weeks or months for treatment to work, and the warts may come back.

HPV vaccine

Genital warts are not cancer and don’t cause cancer

The HPV vaccine offered to girls in the UK to protect against cervical cancer also protects against genital warts.

From April 2018, the HPV vaccine has also been offered to men who have sex with men (MSM), trans men and trans women who are eligible.

Find out more about the HPV vaccine.

Click here for more information about Genital Warts

Herpes

Genital herpes is an STI which is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). It is passed on through vaginal, anal oral sex.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Herpes can appear 4-5 days after coming into contact with the virus. But it can be in the body for weeks, months or years before any symptoms appear. Symptoms include;

  • Feeling generally unwell with flu-like symptoms
  • Stinging, tingling or itching in the anal or genital area
  • Appearance of small, fluid-filled blisters that are painful when passing urine

Symptoms should clear up on their own, but as with other viruses, herpes can reappear after treatment and people may suffer repeated episodes of herpes infection.

Key Facts

  • Herpes can affect the anal and genital area, as well as the mouth and nose
  • It is passed from one person to another during sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact

Testing needs to be taken within 5 days of first signs of symptoms, including recurrence

Testing and Treatment

There isn’t a cure for Herpes, but there is treatment to relieve the symptoms and reduce the chance of the herpes returning.

If you think you may have herpes, speak to the sexual health service, and make an appointment, they will be able to take a swab of the affected area (genital blisters)using a small cotton bud, and offer antiviral tablets to help reduce the symptoms while the infection is clearing up 

Click here if you want to know more about Herpes

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance of the natural bacteria found within the vagina. It’s not currently known what causes the imbalance. However, there are several things you can do to lower your risk of contracting BV. If you are concerned about this condition, you should try washing in the shower rather than the bath and avoid using perfumed soaps and bubble bath products.

Symptoms

BV is usually diagnosed by its unusual vaginal discharge, which is thin and either grey or white and there is often a fish-like odour, unlike Thrush, BV doesn’t cause any itching.  

Key Facts:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis is harmless and easily treated
  • The condition cannot be passed on to men
  • Partners do not need testing unless female partners are also experiencing vaginal discharge
  • BV is not technically an STI, but it is more common in women who are sexually active
  • It often returns (even after treatment)  and you may need more courses of antibiotics

Testing and Treatment

Sexual health professionals can help you identify anything that may be triggering your BV.

Testing includes either a vaginal examinations and/or a swab test using a cotton bud.

BV is generally treated with antibiotics, either in tablet or gel form.

Gels and other treatments are available in shops.

Click here if you want to know more about Bacterial Vaginosis

Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV)

Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

Symptoms

Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection.  Almost half of all men and women infected with TV won’t develop any symptoms (though they can still pass the infection onto others).

Women;

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
  • Producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
  • Soreness, inflammation (swelling) and itching around the vagina – sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex

Men;

  • Pain during urination or ejaculation
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual
  • Thin white discharge from the penis
  • Soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis (balanitis) or foreskin

Key Facts

  • Pregnant women with TV are more likely to have low birth weight or premature babies (before 37th week)
  • It is quite rare for TV to affect other parts of the body, like the anus
  • Most sufferers with this condition do not have any signs and symptoms (approximately 7 out of 10 people)

Testing and Treatment

Diagnosing TV, usually involves taking a swab from the affected area, but you may also be prescribed treatment on the basis of your symptoms.

Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away on its own, treatment with antibiotics, commonly an antibiotic called metronidazole, as a one off dose, will clear the infection.

Click here if you want to know more about Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

Thrush

Thrush is a yeast infection that is caused by a natural fungus in the body, it affects both men and women. It isn’t classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can be passed on during sex.

Symptoms

Women

  • White discharge (like cottage cheese), which doesn’t usually smell
  • Itching and irritation around the vagina
  • Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee
  • Swelling and redness to the genital area, which then leads to pain or discomfort during vaginal sex

Men

  • Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
  • A white discharge (like cottage cheese)
  • An unpleasant smell
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin

Key facts

  • Thrush is more common in females
  • Using soaps and shower gels can trigger thrush

Testing and Treatment

Diagnosing Thrush may involve taking a swab from the affected area, but you may also be prescribed treatment on the basis of your symptoms.

Treatments can include tablets, creams and a pessary (a small, soluble block that is inserted into the vagina)

Generally treatment for thrush can be bought from over the counter in a pharmacy, but go and see your GP or the sexual health clinic if;

  • You have the symptoms of thrush for the first time
  • You’re under 16 or over 60
  • Your thrush keeps coming back (more than twice in 6 months)
  • Treatment hasn’t worked
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have thrush and a weakened immune system – for example, because of diabetes, HIV or chemotherapy

Click here if you want to know more about Thrush

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a common condition caused by an infection affecting the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. A bacterial infection spreads from the vagina or the cervix to the reproductive organs higher up.

Key Facts

  • It mostly affects sexually active women aged 15 to 24
  • Its caused by an STI, like Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea
  • Treating an STI right away can help keep you from getting PID

Symptoms

PID often doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms. When symptoms are present they may include, one or more of the following;

  • Pain around the pelvis or lower abdomen (tummy)
  • Discomfort or pain during sex that’s felt deep inside the pelvis
  • Pain during urination
  • Bleeding between periods and after sex
  • Heavy periods (especially where this isn’t usual)
  • Painful periods (especially where this isn’t usual)
  • Unusual vaginal discharge, that’s yellow or green

A small number of women do have severe symptoms and may become very ill with:

  • Severe lower abdominal pain
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Nausea and vomiting

In these cases it’s important to seek immediate medical help from your GP or the hospital.

Testing and Treatment

There is no simple test for PID, often the doctor or nurse will diagnose the condition based on your symptoms.  Swabs will also be taken from your vagina and cervix (neck of the womb), but even in the case of negative results this doesn’t rule out PID.

Treatment is a course of antibiotics, frequently a mixture of antibiotics to cover the most likely infections, and often an injection as well as tablets, especially if your symptoms are severe.

It’s important to treat PID early as it can lead to permanent damage to the reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes.

Click here to find out more about PID

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice (sometimes called crabs) are tiny insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair.   They are most commonly spread through sexual contact with an infected person and sometimes through sharing towels and bedding. Unlike most other STIs, condoms do not help to prevent the transfer of pubic lice from one person to another.

Key Facts

  • Unlike head lice, pubic lice don’t live in scalp hair
  • Adult pubic lice are very small (2mm long) and aren’t easy to see
  • They’re a yellow-grey or dusky red colour and have 6 legs, due to this appearance they are often referred to as crabs

Symptoms

Because they are small it’s sometimes difficult to spot the Lice.  After getting pubic lice, it can take a number of weeks for the symptoms to appear.  Symptoms include itching (especially at night), black powder, with the appearance of black pepper in your underwear and blue or blood spots from the lice’s bites, commonly on your thighs.

Testing and Treatment

Once diagnosed, a pubic lice infection is easy to treat.  Treatment includes; shampoos, creams and lotions containing insecticides.

Some of the treatments need to be applied to the affected area, whereas others need to be applied to the whole body.

Click here for more information about Pubic Lice

Scabies

Scabies are small parasites that can infect the skin. They are transferred from skin-to-skin contact, so can be passed on through both non-sexual contact, and sexual contact.

Key Facts

  • The scabies mite can’t survive off a host for more than 72 hours
  • They can affect any part of the human body
  • Treatment needs to be undertaken by the whole household not just the person obviously infected

Symptoms

Scabies is very infectious, but it can take up to 8 weeks for the rash to appear.  The rash causes intense itching. The rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers, which helps in the diagnosis of scabies.  Tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, which leaves a rash like a silvery line with a dot at one end.

Testing and Treatment

The good news is that Scabies is not usually a serious condition, but it does need to be treated.

You can buy the treatment over the counter at a Pharmacy; the pharmacist will recommend a cream or lotion that you will need to apply over all your body and repeat the treatment a week later.

It’s important that you wash all clothing and bedding in the household using a 50 degree or hotter wash setting.

The whole household needs to be treated at the same time.

Click here for more information about Scabies

  • Our Clinics
  • Our Clinics

    Our clinics offer a free and confidential sexual health service to everyone in Herefordshire, regardless of your age, gender or sexual orientation. We won’t judge or lecture you. You are not on your own and help is available, if you think you may have put yourself at risk of an STI.

    STIs come in all forms and with a variety of signs and symptoms.   The following pages tell you about how they’re caught, how they’re treated and how to avoid them.

  • Chlamydia
  • Chlamydia

    Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in people under the age of 25, (it does  affect all ages).  It’s the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis that causes this infection.

    Symptoms

    It’s sometimes called the silent infection because there are often no obvious signs of being infected with Chlamydia, so you may not know you have it.  Although infected people often don’t experience any symptoms, their fertility (ability to have children) can be affected if they don’t get treated.

    Some of the symptoms you may experience after 3-4 weeks are;

    • Females can experience a variety of symptoms. These include; bleeding between periods, bleeding during or after sex, lower abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge and pain on passing urine
    • For males, symptoms can include; a white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis, pain when passing urine and pain or tenderness in the testicles
    • Both sexes can experience a burning sensation when they pass urine

    Key facts:

    • 50% of males and 70% of females have no signs or symptoms of chlamydia
    • You should have a screen (test) at least every 12 months or every time you change a partner
    • Chlamydia can be detected 2 weeks after having sex
    • It can affect people of any sexuality
    • If left untreated, chlamydia it can lead to infertility in both men and women
    • Its easily passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
    • Pregnant women can pass it on to their unborn baby
    • It can also affect the eyes
    • Women with Chlamydia are five times more likely to become infected with HIV if they are exposed to HIV
    • Abstinence (not having sex) is the most effective way to avoid STIs like chlamydia
    • Condoms are the best for preventing infection, whether from chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection

    The good news is that Chlamydia is really easy to test for and simple to treat! That’s why you should get tested if you have had any sexual activity with a potentially-infected person, or not used a condom, during sex.  

    Chlamydia Testing and Treatments:

    • The results of your chlamydia test can take up to two weeks
    • We will be contact you via your chosen method (usually text) if you are found to be positive
    • If your test result is positive,
    • If you have a positive result, you should also tell your sexual partner(s) to get tested
    • The treatment is four antibiotic tablets which you have to take in clinic; with no sexual activity for seven days afterwards, to prevent it coming back
    • It is vital that you complete your course of antibiotics, even if you feel well
    • Retesting is not required. You can request a postal chlamydia testing kit by clicking here

    Or you can visit one of our clinics.

    Click here if you want to know more about Chlamydia

  • Gonorrhoea
  • Gonorrhoea

    Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that can affect fertility if left untreated.

    Gonorrhoea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoea bacteria. Many people don’t experience any symptoms; despite this, the infection can cause long-term fertility problems (not being able to have a baby) and should be treated immediately.

    Symptoms

    Because gonorrhoea sometimes has no symptoms, it’s important to get tested as soon as possible after sexual contact with an infected person or if you have had sex without a condom

    • If you do get symptoms, they usually start to appear 1-14 days after contact
    • Gonorrhoea symptoms include yellow/green discharge in both men and women
    • Women may experience bleeding between periods and/or after sex
    • Abdominal pain is common in women
    • Testicular pain and/or swollen testicles are both common in men with gonorrhoea

    Key facts:

    • Gonorrhoea is on the increase in young people
    • Gonorrhoea can be detected after 2 weeks
    • It can affect people of any sexuality
    • 80% of men and 50% of women who get gonorrhoea will have some symptoms

    Testing and Treatment

    • To test for gonorrhoea, men just need to provide a urine sample and women perform a self-taken vaginal swab
    • Results of your test take up to two weeks and you will be contacted via your chosen method (usually text)
    • If your result is positive, the team will get in touch to arrange an appointment for you to receive treatment
    • The treatment for gonorrhoea is a course of antibiotics
    • You should always complete any course of prescribed antibiotics
    • You will be invited for a follow-up test 2 weeks after treatment to ensure it has worked

    Or you can visit one of our clinics.

    Click here if you want to know more about Gonorrhoea

  • Syphilis
  • Syphilis

    Symptoms

    Syphilis is a bacterial Infection that if left untreated can lead to serious health problems.  It is different to other bacterial infections as the symptoms of syphilis may eventually disappear, but you’ll usually remain infected unless you get treated

    • Stage 1 – is a very infectious stage and  you may get a painless ulcer, which usually happens  1-12 weeks after exposure (getting the infection )  – Can be treated and cured at this stage. If left untreated bacteria starts to spread to stage 2
    • Stage 2 –is a painless rash, typically on palms of hands or soles of feet, which are really unusual places to get any other type of rash – Can be treated and cured at this stage. If left untreated bacteria starts to spread to stage 3
    • Stage 3 – It starts to attack internally damaging vital organs – Can be treated and cured in the third stage but any damage already done to your body will not be reversed

    Symptoms also include;

    • Small skin growths (similar to genital warts) that may develop on the vulva in women, on the penis of men or around the anus in both men and women
    • Painless ulcers
    • White patches in the mouth
    • Tiredness, headaches, joint pains, a high temperature (fever), and swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits

    Key Facts

    • You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you’ve been treated for it before
    • Screening for syphilis is offered to all pregnant women so the infection can be found and treated before it causes any serious problems

    Testing and Treatment

    • To test for syphilis you will need to have a blood test
    • The results of the test take up to two weeks and you will be contacted via your chosen method (usually by text)
    • If your result is positive the sexual health team will arrange an appointment for you to be treated
    • The treatment for syphilis is a prescription of antibiotics. You will be invited back for a test to check that the treatment has worked and that you no longer have syphilis

    Click here if you want to know more about  Syphilis

  • HIV
  • HIV

    HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that suppresses the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections, diseases and other illnesses.

    Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is the name used to describe the advanced stage of the HIV infection, when the immune system has been damaged because of the HIV virus.

    HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. This means that it can be passed on (caught) by sharing needles or syringes or having unprotected sex. The virus can also be passed on through oral sex; however, this is much less common than anal and vaginal intercourse.

    Symptoms

    Some people experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after becoming infected. However, as there are no obvious signs or symptoms, we recommend that you get tested immediately if you feel you may be at risk.  Between 70 and 90% of people experience ‘acute’ symptoms one to six weeks after they have been infected with HIV.

    These symptoms last for a few days to weeks and include:

    • Severe flu-like symptoms
    • Sore throat
    • Fever
    • Rash on the chest
    • If HIV is not treated, it may progress to an advanced, life-threatening stage —AIDS
    • There is a period of up to 10 years between infection with HIV and the development of an AIDS-defining illness, in which a person may not experience any symptoms at all

    Key Facts

    • HIV can affect people of any sexuality
    • Can be detected after 4 weeks
    • You can only be certain you are HIV-positive (or negative) if you get tested.
    • People with HIV can usually have a normal life expectancy if they receive an early diagnosis and receive and take regular treatment
    • Most people with HIV who receive treatment will not go on to develop AIDS
    • Evidence tells us that people infected with HIV who are virally suppressed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others, this is dependent upon how well people with HIV adhere to their prescribed treatment
    • The Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) slogan is based on the fact that if you can‘t detect it, you can‘t transmit it

    Testing and Treatment

    There is currently no cure for HIV and Aids, but there are a number of Antiretroviral medications available which help the immune system to repair itself and stop the virus from replicating within the body.  These are currently lifetime treatments, which are taken every day.

    With treatment, HIV will not develop into AIDS. Getting tested early means that you can access this treatment if you have got HIV, which will stop you from ever getting AIDS.

    If you have put yourself at risk it is incredibly important to get tested, regardless of whether you have symptoms.

    Where to get tested?

    Home HIV tests are available in two forms:

    Home-sampling kits

    • You take a small sample of blood or saliva at home and post the sample to a laboratory for testing
    • You receive results by telephone or text within a week
    • Testing is accurate if carried out three months after you have been at risk of getting HIV
    • Home-sampling kits are free
    • If the test is positive you will need to get further advice and any further tests or treatment from your local sexual health service

    Home-testing kits

    • You extract a spot of blood and test it yourself, at home
    • You read your result at home, within 15 minutes of testing
    • If your result is positive, you need to get your result confirmed at a clinic
    • Testing is accurate if carried out more than three months after you have been at risk of getting HIV
    • You can purchase a home-testing kit online here or from a pharmacy
    • It’s important to ensure that your home-testing kit has a ‘CE’ quality assurance mark—otherwise the kit may not work

    Or you can access our clinics to get your test.

    You can click on the link below to get an online test for self-testing at home.

    Click here if you want to know more about  HIV

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

    Key Facts

    • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
    • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
    • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

    Hepatitis A

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of hepatitis A usually start around 4 weeks after becoming infected, although not everyone gets symptoms. These symptoms can include:

    • Feeling tired and generally unwell
    • Joint and muscle pain
    • A raised temperature
    • Loss of appetite
    • Feeling or being sick
    • Pain in the upper right part of your tummy
    • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
    • Dark pee and pale poo
    • Itchy skin

    The symptoms will usually pass within a couple of months. Hepatitis A is not usually serious, I but it’s still important to seek help, so  that more serious conditions with similar symptoms can be ruled out, such as hepatitis C or scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).

    Testing and Treatment

    If you have symptoms of hepatitis A – a blood test can usually confirm whether you have the infection, speak to your GP.

    Vaccination

    Vaccination against hepatitis A is not routinely offered in the UK because the risk of infection is low for most people.

    It’s only recommended for people at an increased risk, including:

    • Close contacts of someone with hepatitis A
    • People with any type of long-term liver disease
    • Men who have sex with other men
    • People who inject illegal drugs

    The hepatitis A vaccine is usually available for free on the NHS for anyone who needs it. If you are concerned or want further advice go to see your GP.

    Other Treatment for Hepatitis A

    There’s currently no cure for hepatitis A. But it usually gets better on its own within a couple of months, whilst you are ill;

    • Get plenty of rest 
    • Take painkillers, for any aches and pains 
    • Eat small, light meals to help reduce nausea and vomiting
    • Avoid alcohol to reduce the strain on your liver
    • Avoid having sex until at least a week after your jaundice or other symptoms started
    • Practise good hygiene, such as washing your hands with soap and water regularly

    For most people, hepatitis A gets better within 2 months and there are no long-term effects.

    Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

    Key Facts

    • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
    • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
    • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

    Hepatitis B

    Symptoms

    Lots of people with hepatitis B won’t get any symptoms and may even fight off the virus without realising they had it.

    If you do get symptoms, they usually happen 2 or 3 months after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.

    Symptoms of hepatitis B include:

    • Flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, a fever, and general aches and pains
    • Loss of appetite
    • Feeling and being sick
    • Diarrhoea
    • Tummy pain
    • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

    Symptoms usually go within 1 to 3 months (acute hepatitis B), although sometimes the infection can last for 6 months or more (chronic hepatitis B).

    Testing and Treatment

    You may be offered vaccinations against hepatitis B depending on your sexual history and associated risks

    Hepatitis B can be serious.

    Get medical advice if:

    • You think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus
    • You have symptoms associated with hepatitis B
    • You’re at a high risk of hepatitis B – high-risk groups include; people born in a country where the infection is common, and people who have ever injected drugs

    You can go to your local GP surgery, drug service, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic for help and advice.

    A blood test can be carried out to check if you have hepatitis B or have had it in the past.

    Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis A, B, & C are different types of hepatitis which are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. This means they can be transmitted (caught) through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

    Key Facts

    • Hep A is uncommon in the UK and is more likely to occur in countries with poor sanitation. It is usually passed on when you come into contact with close contact with an infected person or drink contaminated water. However, the less common way that it is transmitted is unprotected anal or oral sex. This type of infection usually passes within a few months and sometimes requires treatment for symptoms like nausea and discomfort
    • Hep B is the most common type of sexually transmitted viral Hepatitis in the UK. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles and can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child
    • Hep C in the UK is transmitted by the sharing of equipment for intravenous drug use, or in very rare cases through unprotected sex

    Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.

    However, with modern treatments it’s usually possible to cure the infection, and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.

    Symptoms

    Hepatitis C is often different for each person; many find some of their symptoms come and go and symptoms include:

    • Mild to serious tiredness (fatigue)
    • Anxiety and/or depression
    • Weight loss
    • Loss of appetite and/or feeling sick
    • Inability to tolerate alcohol
    • Discomfort in the liver area (place your right hand over your lower right ribs and it will just about cover the area of your liver)
    • Problems concentrating (brain fog)
    • Joint and muscle aches
    • Itchy skin (pruritus)
    • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats and headaches
    • Jaundice

    Testing and Treatment

    Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.

    There are different types of Hepatitis C, and knowing which type helps to get the right type of treatment.   Effective treatments for hepatitis C are now available and can result in you permanently clearing hepatitis C

    Click here if you want to know more about Hepatitis C

  • Genital Warts
  • Genital Warts

    Genital warts are caused by an infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is passed between sexual partners through skin-to-skin contact.

    Symptoms

    • 1 or more painless growths or lumps around your vagina, penis or anus
    • itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus
    • a change to your normal flow of pee (for example, sideways) that doesn’t go away

    Key Facts

    • The infection can be passed on during sexual contact, not just intercourse
    • Ordinary wart treatments from a pharmacy DO NOT work
    • The genital warts virus can be passed on whether or not there are visible warts, which is why it’s the second most commonest STI in young people
    • Visible warts may appear over the whole genital area

    Testing and Treatment

    There’s no cure for genital warts but it’s possible for your body to clear the virus over time. There are a number of different treatments for genital warts.  The type of treatment you’ll be offered depends on what your warts are like. The doctor or nurse will discuss this with you.

    • You may be offered cream or liquid, which you can usually apply yourself a few times a week for several weeks
    • Minor surgery: a doctor or nurse can cut, burn or laser the warts off
    • Freezing: a doctor or nurse freezes the warts, usually every week for 4 weeks

    The treatment may cause soreness, irritation or a burning sensation and some scarring. Also it can take weeks or months for treatment to work, and the warts may come back.

    HPV vaccine

    Genital warts are not cancer and don’t cause cancer

    The HPV vaccine offered to girls in the UK to protect against cervical cancer also protects against genital warts.

    From April 2018, the HPV vaccine has also been offered to men who have sex with men (MSM), trans men and trans women who are eligible.

    Find out more about the HPV vaccine.

    Click here for more information about Genital Warts

  • Herpes
  • Herpes

    Genital herpes is an STI which is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). It is passed on through vaginal, anal oral sex.

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of Herpes can appear 4-5 days after coming into contact with the virus. But it can be in the body for weeks, months or years before any symptoms appear. Symptoms include;

    • Feeling generally unwell with flu-like symptoms
    • Stinging, tingling or itching in the anal or genital area
    • Appearance of small, fluid-filled blisters that are painful when passing urine

    Symptoms should clear up on their own, but as with other viruses, herpes can reappear after treatment and people may suffer repeated episodes of herpes infection.

    Key Facts

    • Herpes can affect the anal and genital area, as well as the mouth and nose
    • It is passed from one person to another during sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact

    Testing needs to be taken within 5 days of first signs of symptoms, including recurrence

    Testing and Treatment

    There isn’t a cure for Herpes, but there is treatment to relieve the symptoms and reduce the chance of the herpes returning.

    If you think you may have herpes, speak to the sexual health service, and make an appointment, they will be able to take a swab of the affected area (genital blisters)using a small cotton bud, and offer antiviral tablets to help reduce the symptoms while the infection is clearing up 

    Click here if you want to know more about Herpes

  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

    Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance of the natural bacteria found within the vagina. It’s not currently known what causes the imbalance. However, there are several things you can do to lower your risk of contracting BV. If you are concerned about this condition, you should try washing in the shower rather than the bath and avoid using perfumed soaps and bubble bath products.

    Symptoms

    BV is usually diagnosed by its unusual vaginal discharge, which is thin and either grey or white and there is often a fish-like odour, unlike Thrush, BV doesn’t cause any itching.  

    Key Facts:

    • Bacterial Vaginosis is harmless and easily treated
    • The condition cannot be passed on to men
    • Partners do not need testing unless female partners are also experiencing vaginal discharge
    • BV is not technically an STI, but it is more common in women who are sexually active
    • It often returns (even after treatment)  and you may need more courses of antibiotics

    Testing and Treatment

    Sexual health professionals can help you identify anything that may be triggering your BV.

    Testing includes either a vaginal examinations and/or a swab test using a cotton bud.

    BV is generally treated with antibiotics, either in tablet or gel form.

    Gels and other treatments are available in shops.

    Click here if you want to know more about Bacterial Vaginosis

  • Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV)
  • Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV)

    Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection.  Almost half of all men and women infected with TV won’t develop any symptoms (though they can still pass the infection onto others).

    Women;

    • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
    • Producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
    • Soreness, inflammation (swelling) and itching around the vagina – sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy
    • Pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex

    Men;

    • Pain during urination or ejaculation
    • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual
    • Thin white discharge from the penis
    • Soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis (balanitis) or foreskin

    Key Facts

    • Pregnant women with TV are more likely to have low birth weight or premature babies (before 37th week)
    • It is quite rare for TV to affect other parts of the body, like the anus
    • Most sufferers with this condition do not have any signs and symptoms (approximately 7 out of 10 people)

    Testing and Treatment

    Diagnosing TV, usually involves taking a swab from the affected area, but you may also be prescribed treatment on the basis of your symptoms.

    Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away on its own, treatment with antibiotics, commonly an antibiotic called metronidazole, as a one off dose, will clear the infection.

    Click here if you want to know more about Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

  • Thrush
  • Thrush

    Thrush is a yeast infection that is caused by a natural fungus in the body, it affects both men and women. It isn’t classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can be passed on during sex.

    Symptoms

    Women

    • White discharge (like cottage cheese), which doesn’t usually smell
    • Itching and irritation around the vagina
    • Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee
    • Swelling and redness to the genital area, which then leads to pain or discomfort during vaginal sex

    Men

    • Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
    • A white discharge (like cottage cheese)
    • An unpleasant smell
    • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin

    Key facts

    • Thrush is more common in females
    • Using soaps and shower gels can trigger thrush

    Testing and Treatment

    Diagnosing Thrush may involve taking a swab from the affected area, but you may also be prescribed treatment on the basis of your symptoms.

    Treatments can include tablets, creams and a pessary (a small, soluble block that is inserted into the vagina)

    Generally treatment for thrush can be bought from over the counter in a pharmacy, but go and see your GP or the sexual health clinic if;

    • You have the symptoms of thrush for the first time
    • You’re under 16 or over 60
    • Your thrush keeps coming back (more than twice in 6 months)
    • Treatment hasn’t worked
    • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding
    • You have thrush and a weakened immune system – for example, because of diabetes, HIV or chemotherapy

    Click here if you want to know more about Thrush

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

    Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a common condition caused by an infection affecting the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. A bacterial infection spreads from the vagina or the cervix to the reproductive organs higher up.

    Key Facts

    • It mostly affects sexually active women aged 15 to 24
    • Its caused by an STI, like Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea
    • Treating an STI right away can help keep you from getting PID

    Symptoms

    PID often doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms. When symptoms are present they may include, one or more of the following;

    • Pain around the pelvis or lower abdomen (tummy)
    • Discomfort or pain during sex that’s felt deep inside the pelvis
    • Pain during urination
    • Bleeding between periods and after sex
    • Heavy periods (especially where this isn’t usual)
    • Painful periods (especially where this isn’t usual)
    • Unusual vaginal discharge, that’s yellow or green

    A small number of women do have severe symptoms and may become very ill with:

    • Severe lower abdominal pain
    • A high temperature (fever)
    • Nausea and vomiting

    In these cases it’s important to seek immediate medical help from your GP or the hospital.

    Testing and Treatment

    There is no simple test for PID, often the doctor or nurse will diagnose the condition based on your symptoms.  Swabs will also be taken from your vagina and cervix (neck of the womb), but even in the case of negative results this doesn’t rule out PID.

    Treatment is a course of antibiotics, frequently a mixture of antibiotics to cover the most likely infections, and often an injection as well as tablets, especially if your symptoms are severe.

    It’s important to treat PID early as it can lead to permanent damage to the reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes.

    Click here to find out more about PID

  • Pubic Lice
  • Pubic Lice

    Pubic lice (sometimes called crabs) are tiny insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair.   They are most commonly spread through sexual contact with an infected person and sometimes through sharing towels and bedding. Unlike most other STIs, condoms do not help to prevent the transfer of pubic lice from one person to another.

    Key Facts

    • Unlike head lice, pubic lice don’t live in scalp hair
    • Adult pubic lice are very small (2mm long) and aren’t easy to see
    • They’re a yellow-grey or dusky red colour and have 6 legs, due to this appearance they are often referred to as crabs

    Symptoms

    Because they are small it’s sometimes difficult to spot the Lice.  After getting pubic lice, it can take a number of weeks for the symptoms to appear.  Symptoms include itching (especially at night), black powder, with the appearance of black pepper in your underwear and blue or blood spots from the lice’s bites, commonly on your thighs.

    Testing and Treatment

    Once diagnosed, a pubic lice infection is easy to treat.  Treatment includes; shampoos, creams and lotions containing insecticides.

    Some of the treatments need to be applied to the affected area, whereas others need to be applied to the whole body.

    Click here for more information about Pubic Lice

  • Scabies
  • Scabies

    Scabies are small parasites that can infect the skin. They are transferred from skin-to-skin contact, so can be passed on through both non-sexual contact, and sexual contact.

    Key Facts

    • The scabies mite can’t survive off a host for more than 72 hours
    • They can affect any part of the human body
    • Treatment needs to be undertaken by the whole household not just the person obviously infected

    Symptoms

    Scabies is very infectious, but it can take up to 8 weeks for the rash to appear.  The rash causes intense itching. The rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers, which helps in the diagnosis of scabies.  Tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, which leaves a rash like a silvery line with a dot at one end.

    Testing and Treatment

    The good news is that Scabies is not usually a serious condition, but it does need to be treated.

    You can buy the treatment over the counter at a Pharmacy; the pharmacist will recommend a cream or lotion that you will need to apply over all your body and repeat the treatment a week later.

    It’s important that you wash all clothing and bedding in the household using a 50 degree or hotter wash setting.

    The whole household needs to be treated at the same time.

    Click here for more information about Scabies