Have you had unprotected sex and ended up with more than you bargained for? Luckily most common STDs can be easily treated by oral antibiotics, if caught early. If left untreated, however, they can cause serious complications, so if you have had unprotected sex, act now to protect yourself for the future. Home testing kits are now available across the UK, so even if you’re reluctant to talk to a professional in person, you can take the first step towards tackling these infections in the privacy of your home.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs amongst 16-24 year olds. It is a bacterial infection but may not cause any symptoms. For this reason, the NHS recommends all 16-24 year olds who are sexually active get tested yearly or every time you have a new partner. In London STI testing kits can be obtained from local sexual health clinics, for example https://www.bexleysexualhealth.org/.
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics, which cures 95% of cases if taken correctly. The medicine is given in tablet or capsule form and will be given either as two or four tablets in one day, or two a day for a week. Your doctor may give you a longer course of treatment if he thinks that you may have complications.
Gonorrhoea is the second most common STI and again it mainly affects under 25s. Symptoms are usually more obvious than chlamydia, but around 1 in 10 cases are asymptomatic. If you’ve had unprotected sex, you should get tested. Gonorrhoea is easily treated with a single antibiotic injection and tablet, but left untreated, it can cause infertility and blindness in babies. For more info about home testing in London, see checkurself.
Recently, syphilis cases have been rising. Difficult to spot, it is easy to get tested and treatment involves an antibiotic injection or a course of tablets. The important thing about syphilis is to get treated early. Left alone, it can cause serious and life threatening complications.
Hepatitis is usually fought off by your immune system. However, chronic hepatitis will need treatment. This comprises either a weekly injection if your liver is healthy, or antiviral drugs if it is showing signs of damage. Either way, you will need to be referred to a hepatologist.