STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases are infections passed from person-to-person sexual contact through unprotected sex. The infections can transfer because of unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Most people with STDs do not show any immediate symptoms. The symptoms usually have a ‘window time’ or period that they need for gestation inside the human body.
The symptoms can include sores, itchiness, rashes and redness, lumps, painful urination, and a smelly discoloured discharge from the vagina or penis. Some STD symptoms may also be wholly internal, like pain in the stomach or groin region. Often, none of these symptoms show up, which means there is a high possibility that asymptomatic carriers may pass the disease to others without knowledge. The only way to understand if you have an STD is to get a test done.
Which Are The Common STDs?
Several STDs are pretty common. Genital herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis are a few that are commonly passed along through unprotected sex. Most of these STDs have a gestation time ranging from a few days to a few weeks. The medication (with a doctor’s prescription) is also readily available. For example, you can buy Aciclovir online (for genital herpes) by uploading your prescription to a reputable pharmacy site.
Most STDs can be cured with medications and a diet. These medicines must be taken in the correct dosages, and follow up visits to the clinic to meet the doctor are necessary for your overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, diseases like HIV do not have a cure, but treatment options control the symptoms.
If you are detected with an STD, it is good to inform your partners and ex-partners about the infection to protect themselves and get treated immediately. However, if you are uncomfortable doing this, the sexual health clinic can do it on your behalf without disclosing your name or condition.
What are the Treatment Options for STDs?
If an infection is found in the test results, you may have to return to the sexual health clinic for further treatment. Once you return, the doctor will have a closed consultation with you and explain all your options, medications, dosages, prescriptions, and other necessary instructions. The doctor may also suggest treatment options for your partner or partners to prevent the spread of the STD.
Most treatment options are free in the UK, and there are no charges for hospital prescriptions with the NHS. However, it is best to discuss the finances and treatment options thoroughly with the doctor before taking a final decision.
Visiting A Clinic
There are STD clinics in the UK that specialize in sexual health. These are also called sexual health or GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinics. They help provide testing and treatment options for various sexually related infections and diseases.
STD tests throughout the UK can be conducted from any of these sexual health clinics. You could get an appointment over the phone or drop-in (based on the clinic). Drop-in clinics do not need an appointment, and most people can walk in based on their locations.
The staff at these clinics are highly professional and are used to testing for all types of sexually-related infections. They are experienced and will not judge you. These clinics are for all people, ages, and genders. If you are under 16 years, the clinic will keep the information confidential and not inform your parents or guardians unless another person is at risk of harm. If this is the case, the clinic might have to notify other healthcare providers, but they will speak to you about this before they make any calls or pass any additional information.
What To Expect At The Sexual Health Clinic?
At the clinic, you will be asked personal questions about your sex life, including when you last had unprotected sex, which symptoms you have, why you want to get tested, and why you think you could have an infection.
Once the doctor has a chance to speak to you, the nurse and doctor will explain the treatment options, what is going on, which tests are being prescribed, and why they feel your symptoms could indicate a particular type of STD.
The tests at the clinic could involve:
- A blood sample (for HIV and syphilis)
- A urine sample (for gonorrhoea and chlamydia)
- Urethral swabs
- Vaginal swabs
- Physical examination of the genitals
Genital herpes tests aren’t usually done unless there are sores around the anus or genitalia. In this case, the doctor will take a swab from one of the sores for further testing. This is usually not painful but could get uncomfortable.