Sexually treated infections or STIs cause a range of symptoms, including discharge, pain and rashes. However, some infections can be silent, causing no symptoms but still having serious implications for your future health and fertility. Virtually Healthcare provides specialist screening for STIs as well as expert treatment, support and referral whenever necessary.
The symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease will depend on the infection. However, it’s important to be aware that having no symptoms does not mean you are free from infection. You may not know if you have an STI; the WHO says that the majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that can be missed1.
The genital disease symptoms to look out for include:
The sexual health specialists at Virtually Healthcare recommend sexual health screening if you have symptoms, but also if you could be at risk of STIs.
Virtually Healthcare offers a comprehensive range of STI tests, most of which can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. We have a sexual health specialist doctor and two sexual health trained nurses as part of the Virtually Healthcare team. They can provide expert assessment, treatment and support on the phone, in a video consultation or in person. We work closely with the NHS STI service, which allows us to send out kits directly to your home so you can take samples to check for STIs.
Virtually Healthcare is an innovative GP practice, providing expert care in the comfort, safety and privacy of your home. The Virtually Healthcare service is designed to fit with modern lives. Consultations are easy to access, discreet and convenient, with virtual appointments available seven days a week.
The highly-skilled team includes more than 40 clinicians working together to investigate and treat disease and help you optimise your health and wellbeing. As well as experienced GPs, the team includes sexual health specialists, physiotherapists and practice nurses to offer a comprehensive primary care service.
During the pandemic, many patients are finding it more difficult to access healthcare. Virtually Healthcare provides rapid access video or telephone appointments, with consultations available the same day if you contact us before 3 pm. Our clinicians can provide professional assessment and advice, arrange investigations, prescribe treatment or arrange for a face-to-face review.
STIs are increasing in the UK, with young people and men who have sex with men at increased risk of contracting an infection. The most common infections include:4
Gonorrhoea is also known as the clap. Around half of women and 10% of men don’t have symptoms of gonorrhoea. However, about ten days after infection, you may notice:
If gonorrhoea is left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, pelvic pain and infertility.
Genital herpes comes and goes, with attacks recurring if you are run-down, unwell or during the monthly period in women. Usually, the first attack is more severe than subsequent relapses. Symptoms can appear many months or years after infection. Look out for:
HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is often asymptomatic. However, 80% of people will experience a flu-like illness between two and six weeks following infection. This happens as a result of seroconversion when the body’s immune system responds to the virus and lasts up to two weeks. Symptoms include fever, general malaise, sore throat and a rash.
After this, the majority of people with HIV will have no symptoms unless they develop AIDS. In virus progressively damages the immune system making people vulnerable to infections, cancers and other diseases.
Very many people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms. However, you may notice some symptoms one to three weeks after contracting the infection. These include
Untreated chlamydia can cause long term health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease in women, arthritis, testicular inflammation in men, complications in pregnancy and fertility problems.
Genital warts can be internal, so you may not know you have an infection. However, you may notice warty growths. Look out for:
Warts are caused by HPV infection, which is linked to cancers of the cervix, vulva and penis. If you are worried that you may be infected, contact the specialists at Virtually Healthcare for advice.
Syphilis is a progressive infection, with symptoms developing and causing serious problems if it is not treated promptly and effectively. The first stage comes on ten days to twelve weeks after infection. You may notice.
If not treated, it can develop into secondary syphilis; you may notice:
Syphilis is easily treated with an antibiotic injection. If it is not treated, it can cause long-term damage to the heart, brain and nervous system, including blindness, heart disease, stroke and dementia.
The majority of people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C won’t notice any symptoms. However, some people may notice symptoms two or three months after infection and can last up to 3 months. These include:
These symptoms usually settle in 4-12 weeks. However, in some people, both hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become chronic infections. People with chronic hepatitis can pass on infection and can develop liver damage.
Virtually Healthcare’s sexual health specialist reports on the questions and concerns they are currently seeing in their consultations.
Some people are avoiding sexual health screening during the pandemic because they are worried that their sexual contacts break lockdown rules.
I can reassure anyone who is concerned about their sexual health. At Virtually Healthcare, we provide sensitive advice, discreet testing and treatment without judgement. We can arrange remote consultations on the phone or online and a comprehensive range of reliable STI screening tests that can be done in your own home.
Last year, I read a report saying that your people had ‘fallen out of love with safe sex.5‘ In many ways, this reflected what I saw in my consulting room and virtual clinics. Research by Public Health England (PHE) showed that around half of 16 to 24-year-olds had sex with a new partner without a condom. What’s more, one in 10 sexually active people in the same age group had never used a condom.
Recently, AIDS and HIV have received lots of media and social media attention following the TV drama ‘It’s a sin’. We’ve noticed many more people requesting HIV tests and information on safer sex, which is excellent news.
According to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH):
‘Safer sex means having sex with less risk of transmission a sexually transmitted infection (STI).’6
We offer written, telephone and video consultations with a range of male and female clinicians from GPs, nurse practitioners, and primary care specialists such as physiotherapy.