How to Avoid STDs

Published on 27 December 2013 by in Sexual Health

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How to Avoid STDs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are illnesses passed between persons exclusively through sexual intercourse. These illnesses can be passed through any kind of sexual intercourse, and between homosexual and heterosexual partners. No individual has proven to be resistant to STDs. There are several known STDs, some of the more common ones are herpes, genital warts and gonorrhoea. Since most STDs cannot be treated, and in fact and some even considered dangerous to a person’s health, measures have been taken to assist  sexually active people in avoiding STDs from spreading and to protect themselves from contracting one. It is not hard to avoid STDs, and only takes some knowledge and minor interventions to be safe. Below are some ways on how you can avoid catching STDs.

Know your sexual partners 

One of the simplest ways of avoiding STDs is by knowing the background of your sexual partners. Certainly, partners can and do lie, and in fact, might not even be aware that they are infected at the time you have sexual contact with them. To avoid STDs, ensure you engage in sexual intercourse with persons you know and trust, and also ensure that your partners are tested before sleeping with them. This automatically makes you aware of their status. But in case they decline, then do not engage in sexual contact with them. Treat sex seriously and be responsible of any action you take. Demand the same too from your partners.

Always use protection while having sex

Even in case where your partner is not infected, you should always ensure you use protection while having sex to avoid the STDs. Condoms are considered cheap, safe and easy to use. They are simply the easiest way to minimize the transmission of STDs. They prevent STDs most of the time. Using a latex condom regularly when having sex can equally help you to avoid STDs. Another thing to take into consideration while having sex is never to touch your partner’s condom and ensure you use a properly fitting condom with no breaks or tears in them. This helps to prevent STDs from catching you during sexual intercourse.

Get tested regularly

To stop STDs from being transmitted through to your partners and for your well being too, you should ensure you are tested regularly to see if you are infected or not. To prevent STDs, get tested before engaging in sexual intercourse with any new person, after ending your sexual relationship with that person, and anytime you are having sex with someone you are suspecting to be engaging in untrustworthy behaviours with other partners. While testing cannot prevent the STDs from infecting you once you already have them, being aware of your status can well prevent it from being transmitted to other persons by you. In case you contact a sexually transmitted disease, inform any partners you may have had a sexual relationship in the past with. This helps to stop the spread of these deadly infections.

Refraining from sharing any sharp needles

Make sure that you have your own needles which you use for common purposes such as piercing your ears, getting tattoos etc. Make sure that you use clean needles to avoid the possibilities of contacting any STDs. Take note, sharing needles even once is enough for you to contact an STD, this being the case make sure that you try as much as possible never to share needles with anybody.

Your health is your responsibility; therefore ensure every step you take concerning your body is safe. Also to help you are the several health centres with qualified health practitioners. For UK citizens living in Europe, having an EHIC card always helps.

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3 Ways To Relieve Painful Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus and spread through intimate contact. Genital herpes is characterised by painful sores, which develop in the genital areas. They are usually similar in appearance to blisters and they burst, leaving open sores.

Genital herpes is a chronic (long-term) condition, which tends to flare up from time to time. This is because the herpes simplex virus does not leave the body, it merely lies dormant. Those who have genital herpes may suffer from recurrent infections and the symptoms may differ from the primary infection. More information regarding genital herpes can be found here.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

Aside from the painful blisters around the genital area, genital herpes can also cause additional symptoms, including:

  • A high temperature
  • General unwell feeling
  • Sores in the rectum or cervix in women
  • Pain when urinating
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.

Symptoms of a recurrent infection (when the patient has already been infected and suffered symptoms before) include:

  • A burning sensation around the genitals
  • Painful blisters on the genitals, thighs and the rectum and on the cervix in women.

3 Ways to Relieve the Symptoms of Genital Herpes

There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are treatments that can help to ease symptoms and relieve pain caused by recurrent infections; these include:

  1. Keeping the affected area clean: hygiene is important at the best of times, but it is particularly important when you have genital herpes. Try to keep the affected area as clean as possible by using a cloth to dab warm water or salt water on the blisters. This may be painful but it will help to prevent sores from getting infected and the skin on the legs from sticking together when you walk.
  1. Apply ice to the blisters: applying ice is an effective pain relief method and it also helps to ease the burning sensation, which is commonly experienced by those who have a recurrent infection. Place an ice pack inside a cloth and hold the cloth on the blisters. Do not place ice directly on the skin, as this can cause damage to it. It is also a good idea to avoid wearing tight clothing, so that your clothes do not stick to the blisters and it is not painful when you put your clothes on or take them off.
  1. Apply petroleum jelly: applying petroleum jelly to the blisters helps to relieve pain and soreness when you put on your clothing and when you urinate. It is also really important to drink plenty of water to jeep you hydrated and to dilute your urine. This will reduce pain and discomfort when you go to the toilet.

These self-help methods are generally recommended for patients with a recurrent infection. Primary infections are usually treated with a course of anti-viral medication (usually acyclovir). However, they can also be beneficial for patients who have symptoms for the first time as a means of reducing pain. If you have an active infection, it is important to avoid sexual or intimate contact with others, as this will cause the infection to be spread.

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Bumps and lumps

Published on 04 June 2013 by in Health, Safe Sex, Sexual Health

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Bumps and lumps

Herpes is an infection caused the herpes simplex virus; this virus is responsible for cold sores, which tend to develop in the corner of the mouth, and genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection, which causes small sores to develop in the genital areas.

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a viral infection, which is classed as a sexually transmitted infection because it can be spread through sexual contact. Genital herpes is a chronic (long-term) condition; treatment does not banish the virus completely and the virus lies dormant in the body. Most people who have genital herpes experience bouts of symptoms now and again, which occur when the virus is active.

Symptoms of genital herpes

The most obvious symptom of genital herpes is a rash made up of small, red blisters, which develops in the genital area. The blisters tend to be very sore and they can also be located around the thighs and the bottom; they can also form in the rectum.

Additional symptoms of genital herpes include a high temperature, aches and pains, generally feeling ill, pain during urination and abnormal vaginal discharge.

In most cases, symptoms tend to last for around 15-21 days, but as the virus remains in the body, they may flare up from time to time. Symptoms of a recurrent infection include itching and burning around the genitals, blisters and sores on the cervix (in females) and painful sores in the genital area.

How is genital herpes treated?

If you have genital herpes symptoms for the first time (this is known as a primary infection) you can visit your GP or a sexual health clinic. If you have recurrent symptoms, you may be referred to a herpes specialist London. Treatment for primary infections usually involves taking antiviral tablets; the most common medicine used is acyclovir. If you have recurrent infections you may be advised to have suppressive treatment, which is designed to prevent flare-ups; this treatment involves taking antiviral medication on a daily basis.

Preventing genital herpes

The only way to prevent genital herpes is to have safe sex; this means using condoms during sexual contact. Other methods of contraception, such as the pill and the contraceptive implant do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. If you have active symptoms of genital herpes, you should avoid sexual contact with other people.

 

 

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Both men and women may suffer from impotence at some point in their lives. For men it may take the form of an inability to have an erection or sustain one, or to be able to ejaculate. Women may experience a lack of libido/sex drive, declining interest in sex or pain during sex. At any point a man or woman may be unable to achieve orgasm. These are all symptoms of impotence.

Impotence may cause anxiety about sex, lack of self-esteem and much frustration to oneself and another that you are sexually involved with. Getting help for impotence is the start to identifying the cause of impotence and treatment for a healthier sex life.

Steps to getting help for impotence

There are four basic steps to getting help for impotence that include:

  • Acknowledging that you are suffering from impotence
  • Talk with a professional, such as a General Practitioner (GP), about impotence
  • Be willing to have assessment or evaluation to identify the cause of impotence
  • Engage in treatment options for impotence to improve sexual experience

Acknowledge the problem

The hardest part for some people is acknowledging that they are suffering from impotence. An inability to perform sexually may lower self-esteem and cause relationship conflicts. By accepting that help is needed, you may move a step closer to peace of mind and better sexual health.

Talk with a professional

Health professionals listen with empathy, maintain confidentiality and make referrals for assessment to identify the cause of impotence.

Identify the cause of impotence

The causes of impotence vary and may be physical, psychological or both. By being professional assessed by a health practitioner who specialises in impotence may the cause of impotence be identified for proper treatment.

Engage in treatment options

Once the cause of impotence is identified, the right treatment may be provided for greater sexual satisfaction. There are choices in treatments that include counselling, medication and devices.

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What is involved in the herpes treatment process?

Herpes simplex is a form of virus, which can affect certain areas of the body, including the mouth, eyes and the genital areas. Herpes is spread through contact with affected individuals; as genital herpes is spread through sexual contact, it is classified as a sexually transmitted infection.

Herpes simplex is a very common virus, which affects a large proportion of the population; many people have the virus without knowing it because they do not experience symptoms. Genital herpes usually causes sores to develop in the genital areas and once you have the virus, it is common to experience episodes of symptoms, although they are usually sporadic and tend to become rarer as time goes by.

Treating herpes

Genital warts is a long-term condition, which cannot be cured but there are treatments available to ease symptoms; symptoms tend to become apparent when the virus is triggered after laying dormant in the body and nobody really understands what causes the virus to become active. If you have symptoms for the first time, treatment usually involves taking a form of medicine called acyclovir; the course is usually around 5 days long. If you have recurrent infections on a regular basis (at least six times per year) you may be advised to take acyclovir on a long-term basis. In some cases, when symptoms are very mild, no treatment may be required, but it is avoidable to avoid sexual contact while you have sores to prevent spreading the infection.

The herpes simplex virus can also affect the mouth; the sores that develop around the corners of the mouth are commonly known as cold sores. Cold sores can be treated with over the counter topical anti-viral medication, but most sores heal within 7 days without any treatment. Anti-viral creams, which are available from pharmacies without prescription, contain either acyclovir or penciclovir. It is important to apply the cream as soon as the symptoms of a cold sore start to develop, as the creams are only effective at this stage when the virus is still spreading.

Self-help

In mild cases, there may be no need for treatment, but there are things you can do to help ease symptoms, including taking over the counter painkillers (such as paracetamol), applying Vaseline to the sores, drinking plenty of fluids and adopting good hygiene; while you have symptoms it is advisable to avoid sharing towels and bed linen and having sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

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Sexual health tests

Published on 08 August 2011 by in Safe Sex, Sexual Health, Sexual Healthy, STI\'s

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Sexual health tests

Where can I have a sexual health test?

There are various different places you can go for an STI test; these include:

●      GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic

●      Sexual health clinics

●      GP surgeries

●      Contraception clinics (also known as family planning clinics)

Do I have to pay for the test?

STI tests and all sexual health services are free of charge on the NHS. You can get free contraceptives from sexual health clinics and your GP. If you do go to your GP and you require treatment for any sexually transmitted diseases, you may have to pay the prescription charge (some people are exempt from paying prescription charges).

What does the test involve?

Tests for men and women may involve the following:

●      Examination of the genitals, throat, mouth, skin, anus and rectum

●      Urine sample

●      Blood sample

●      Swabs from the urethra

●      Swabs from any blisters or sores

Women may also have an examination of the vagina and swabs from the vagina.

When will I get the results?

Sometimes the results will be available straight away and sometimes you will have to wait for your results. Sometimes, this can take several weeks. If you do have to wait for your results, you will be asked to give your permission for a member of staff to call you to give you your results or send you a letter with the results in an unmarked envelope.

What happens if my test result is positive?

If your test result is positive, a member of staff will talk to you about the infection and the treatment options available to you. In the majority of cases, you will be given a course of antibiotics. If you have a more serious, long-term condition, such as HIV, you will be referred to a counsellor and advised about your treatment options.

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Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases

Different types of sexually transmitted diseases cause different symptoms to develop and in some cases, there are no obvious symptoms. This is why it is important to go for regular sexual health checks if you are having unprotected sex or sleeping with different partners.

Many symptoms that are associated with sexually transmitted infections are also linked to other health conditions so the development of symptoms may not indicate that you have a sexually transmitted infection, however, it is always a good idea to get checked out.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Women

●      Unusual vaginal discharge, which may be green or yellow in colour

●      Pain during or just after sex

●      Bleeding between periods

●      Unpleasant smelling discharge

●      Pain in the lower abdomen

Men

●      Discharge from the penis

●      Swelling of the foreskin

●      Itching or irritation of the urethra

Men and women

●      Pain during urination

●      Itching or tingling around the genital area

●      Blisters, sores or lumps around the genitals

●      Spots around the genitals

If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, do not panic and don’t be embarrassed, just arrange to go and see your GP. In the vast majority of cases, antibiotics can cure infections very quickly and easily. If an infection is left untreated, it may get a lot worse so it is always best to try and have a test as soon as possible and then suitable treatment can be given.

Some infections, such as chlamydia, do not cause symptoms in some people, so it is important to have a sexual health test if you have had intimate sexual contact or sexual intercourse with somebody. It is also advisable to have an STI test if you are planning to become pregnant.

Where can I go for an STI test?

You can go to your GP’s surgery, your local sexual health clinic, your local GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic or a community contraceptive clinic for an STI test.

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Sexually transmitted diseases, now more commonly known as sexually transmitted infections, are infections that are spread through sexual contact and unprotected sexual intercourse. Sexually transmitted infections can be passed on through oral, anal and vaginal sex. Some infections, including genital warts, can also be passed through skin to skin contact.

How common are sexually transmitted infections?

Sexually transmitted infections are very common. In recent years, the number of people diagnosed with an STI has increased significantly. The figure has increased year on year since the mid 1990’s and in 2008 a total of 399,738 new cases were diagnosed. Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the UK but there has been a significant increase in the number of cases of genital herpes; between 2007 and 2008 there was a 10 percent increase in the number of cases.

Young people aged between 16 and 24 are the most commonly affected. This demographic accounts for only 12 percent of the population, however more than half of the cases of STIs in the UK are amongst this age group.

Examples of STIs

There are lots of different sexually transmitted infections but some are much more common than others. The most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK include:

●      Chlamydia

●      Gonorrhoea

●      Syphilis

●      Genital warts

●      Genital herpes

●      HIV

Who can get an STI?

Anybody who has intimate sexual contact or unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person can develop a sexually transmitted infection. Some infections can also be passed on through sharing needles and having skin to skin contact with a person with an infection. Sexually transmitted infections are most common amongst young people because they tend to have higher levels of unprotected sex, however, people of all ages can develop infections. Sexually transmitted infections can affect people of all different ages, races and sexual preferences.

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Young People Risk Their Health

Published on 16 December 2010 by in Sexual Health, The Risks

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There has been a lot reported over recent years about the risk young people put on their sexual health. We have seen teen pregnancies and STI’s increase. One of the reasons for this increase is the increase in binge drinking amongst the young of today. The culture has become to go out and get drunk as quickly as possible removing any self control which can have far more reaching repercussions than just passing out at the end of the night.

It is no coincidence that STI’s and teen pregnancies are rising in a very similar way to binge drinking. In fact it doesn’t take a genius to know that the young’s sexual health can be protected at the same time as protecting the young’s health in general by tackling binge drinking. Eliminate this and there will be without doubt a reduction in all sorts of things from liver disease to STI’s.

So maybe the future is to not look at the problems of teen’s sexual health and the things they get up to as a separate problem from that of binge drinking and even increased weight in some. It is time to tackle them as different branches of the same problem. Only by seeing why there is this type of behaviour can be eliminate it and help the young in many different ways.

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Sexual Health At Risk

Published on 21 November 2010 by in Sexual Health, The Risks

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Recent research has shown that thousands of women are regularly putting their sexual health at risk, particularly after a night out, by relying on emergency hormone contraception – “the morning after pill” – as their regular form of contraception. This, like many other forms of contraception, is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, but it is designed to be used only if other forms have failed, not to be used regularly.

Whilst the morning after pill may help in preventing pregnancy, it offers no protection of other aspects of sexual health, such as STIs. With over 200,000 cases of Chlamydia diagnosed in 2010, it is important that when choosing contraception that the risk of STIs is also taken into consideration, as condoms can reduce the risk considerably, whereas other methods do not.

Some people may argue that the rise in cases of Chlamydia and other STIs being diagnosed is due to increased screening, particularly in sexual health clinics. Whilst this may partly be the case, the levels of STIs being diagnosed, particularly in the under 25 age group, is alarming and all people – women in particular- need to be aware that the risks to their sexual health do stretch further than pregnancy, and the morning after pill cannot help with this.

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