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Further Resources: Sexually Transmitted Infections

Symptoms and Treatments

The following information is from the Health Encyclopedia from NHS Direct (with links to BBC Health for more information about each condition).

The patient leaflets are available on the Family Planning Association website.


Chlamydia
Symptoms A white or cloudy looking discharge from the penis or vagina, pain when passing urine, and bleeding between periods or after sex (women only).

Sometimes there can be no visible symptoms.

Treatments Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics, either a single dose or a course for a couple of weeks.

Link to leaflet Chlamydia leaflet


Genital herpes
Symptoms This condition often presents no symptoms and can remain undiagnosed for long periods of time. Symptoms may show in the form of flu-like symptoms, itchiness, burning or tingling around the genitals, small, fluid-filled blisters that burst to leave sores, and pain passing urine.
Treatments The virus for genital herpes remains in the body and there is no treatment that gets rid of it completely. Antiviral drugs may be used to relieve the symptoms. Self-help measures help in reducing symptoms or preventing outbreaks, such as avoiding stress and resting, cutting down on smoking and drinking and avoiding direct sunlight.

Link to leaflet Genital herpes leaflet


Genital warts
Symptoms Few people who contract the virus actually show recognisable symptoms, this is why the infection can go undiagnosed for a long time. If symptoms are present they will include small white spots or white lumps, but they may be hidden inside the vagina or anus.
Treatments Genital warts are easily treated by either painting with a liquid or freezing the warts with a spray. Some people need a number of treatments however and sometimes the warts return and require further treatment.

Link to leaflet Genital warts leaflet


Gonorrhoea
Symptoms This infection can affect the genitals, anus, rectum and throat, and can affect both men and women. Around half of all women infected by gonorrhoea and over 90% of men experience symptoms, including a thin, watery discharge from the vagina or tip of the penis that can appear yellow or green, and pain when urinating.
Treatments Early treatment for gonorrhoea involves a single dose of antibiotics. If complications occur further treatment will be needed.

Link to leaflet Gonorrhoea leaflet


HIV and AIDS
Symptoms There are no symptoms after infection. The only way to know if you are HIV-positive is to have a test.
Treatments While there is no cure for AIDS or the HIV virus, its effects can be slowed down with a combination of drugs, most recently the highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART).

Link to leaflet HIV leaflet


Non-specific urethritis
Symptoms Discharge and discomfort from the male urethra.
Treatments Non-specific urethritis (NSU) is easily treated with antibiotics, although damage to the urethra can take time to heal.

Link to leaflet Non-specific urethritis leaflet


Pubic lice
Symptoms Symptoms include itchy skin, black powder (lice droppings) in underwear and white eggs.
Treatments Pubic lice are easily treated. Special shampoos, creams or lotions are used to kill the lice and their eggs.

Link to leaflet Pubic lice and scabies leaflet


Scabies
Symptoms Scabies can occur anywhere on the body, but sometimes the signs are hard to see. Symptoms can appear weeks after first contact and include itching (especially at night), a rash and tiny spots.
Treatments Scabies is easily treated. A special lotion is applied all over the body to and washed off 24 hours later.

Link to leaflet Pubic lice and scabies leaflet


Syphilis
Symptoms Symptoms usually begin with a small sore on the penis or vagina. Up to six months after the initial symptoms occur, the patient may experience flu-like symptoms such as achiness and shivering.
Treatments Syphilis can be easily treated during the early stages, usually with a two-week course of antibiotics. It can also be treated during later stages of infection, but any damage done to the heart or nervous system may be irreversible.

Link to leaflet Syphilis leaflet


Thrush
Symptoms Symptoms include intense itching around the penis or vagina, with a thick, white discharge likened to cottage cheese in women, and the appearance of tiny white spots around the genitals.
Treatments Thrush is easily treated using pessaries (tablets that are inserted into the vagina), cream or tablets. Men are usually treated with creams.

Link to leaflet Vaginal infections (thrush and BV) leaflet


Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)
Symptoms Sometimes there are no symptoms, but if there are there is an increased yellow / green discharge from the vagina with soreness. Men usually act as carriers and do not show symptoms.
Treatments Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is easily treated with a course of antibiotic tablets.

Link to leaflet Trichomonas vaginalis leaflet



A good guide to STDs can be downloaded from the AVERT website by clicking here.

Link to NHS Choices      Link to Patient UK      Link to Surrey Health