Can you catch HIV through Oral Sex?

Oral Sex & HIV

Many STIs can be passed from one person to another via oral sex and the same can be said about HIV. However, in comparison to those other STIs the risk is much lower. Here’s everything that you need to know about HIV and oral sex from Your Sexual Health.

Two pairs of lips side by side

Can HIV be passed via oral sex?

Although the risk is extremely low, HIV can be passed from one person to another during oral sex depending on a number of factors.

First of all, if the person with HIV is receiving effective medication against the condition and they have an undetectable viral load, then it is not possible for them to pass on HIV through oral sex.

However, for people yet to be diagnosed with HIV or not receiving medication there is a greater risk of them transmitting the infection.

Public Health England estimates that between 1-3% of all HIV transmissions in the UK come as the result of oral sex, whilst other studies quote numbers even lower.

Factors increase the risk of HIV being passed through oral sex

The risks can become greater depending on a number of factors.

Performing oral sex on a man with HIV

If a HIV negative person performs oral sex on a man with HIV there is a risk of passing on the condition if the man has a detectable viral load.

The risk is increased if the man ejaculates in the HIV negative persons mouth or pre-cum is passed into the other person’s mouth.

By avoiding the person ejaculating into the other person’s mouth you greatly reduce the risk.

You should bare in mind that if a person carrying HIV has yet to be diagnosed, they will have a detectable viral load and carry a greater risk of passing on the virus.

Receiving oral sex from someone with HIV

The risk when the HIV positive person performs oral sex is greatly reduced.

Factors which may increase the risk slightly include the person performing oral having cuts in their mouth.

A throat or mouth infection may also increase the risk.  

Performing oral sex on a woman with HIV

There is a very small risk that HIV can be passed from a woman with HIV.

Performing oral sex on a woman on her period does carry a greater risk.

Reducing the risk from oral sex

Although oral sex carries a smaller risk than both vaginal and anal sex there are still things that can be done to reduce the risk of catching HIV further.

  • Don’t perform oral sex on a person with a detectable viral load
  • Wear protection if either person has cuts in their mouth
  • Avoid ejaculating in the uninfected persons mouth

Even if the other person doesn’t have HIV, If you’re performing oral sex on someone or receiving it for the first time you should wear protection until you are both tested against STIs.

Pain When Urinating – What Could It Mean?

Helpful Advice from Your Sexual Health

Many people will experience pain during urination at some stage throughout their life and it can be caused by a wide range of medical conditions. However, despite it often affecting the genital area it’s not always associated with an STI. Your Sexual Health have some guidance on other potential causes of pain when urinating so that you can approach your GP with more knowledge of your symptoms.

Pain when urinating as a symptom of an STI

Although not always the case, it’s possible that pain whilst urinating could be caused by a sexually transmitted infection. There are a number of common sexually transmitted infections which may cause the symptom, including: –

If you believe you’ve come into contact with a particular STI that’s on this list and you’re experiencing pain whilst passing urine, you should get checked. You may also want to get checked if you’ve slept with multiple sexual partners without being tested.

Other causes of painful urination

Despite an STI being the potential cause of painful urination there are also a range of other possibilities. If you’ve taken an STI test and received a negative result, one of these conditions is more likely.

Yeast infection or thrush

A yeast infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of the Candida albican fungus in the vagina. It can cause a number of irritating and unpleasant symptoms, of which pain or burning whilst urinating is often one. Other symptoms include: –

  • An itchy vagina
  • White discharge
  • Swelling of the vagina
  • Soreness around the vagina

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI’s are one of the most common causes of pain whilst urinating. They are caused by bacteria infecting the urinary tract through the urethra and can cause a burning sensation whilst passing urine. Other symptoms which may accompany a urinary tract infection include: –

  • A more frequent urge to pass urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back which is also evident whilst not urinating
  • Strange smelling urine of a cloudy or dark colour
  • Shaky or tired feeling
  • Fever or chills (often a sign that the infection has reached your kidneys)

Sensitivity or irritation to an external substance

One common cause of pain whilst urinating could be the irritation or allergy to an external substance. This could be something directly applied to the vagina or penis, such as a cream, lotion, lubricant or condom. It may also be something which comes into contact with your genital area passively, such as detergent from clothes. These causes will usually pass by avoiding the use of any potential irritant and finding an alternative solution.

Other causes

There may also be a range of other potential causes for pain whilst urinating. Your GP will be able to help you diagnose the cause and offer you the treatment that you require to get you back on the mend. Other potential causes may include: –

  • Bladder or Kidney Stones
  • Cystitis
  • Medication side effect
  • Inflammation of the prostate
  • Injury or blockage to the urethra

If you’re experiencing pain whilst urinating you should visit your GP to diagnose the potential causes. If you believe that it may be a sexually transmitted infection that’s causing your symptoms why not browse our wide range of test packages and book an appointment at one of our STI clinics to get tested today.

Made in Chelsea star promotes sexual health

Made in Chelsea star promotes sexual health

Latest figures from PHE spark need for new campaign

Public Health England have launched a new celebrity campaign encouraging young people to wear condoms during sex. It follows news that a new case of chlamydia and gonorrhoea was diagnosed every four minutes in the UK during 2017.

The new campaign, titled “Protect Against STIs”, is made up of two short films featuring Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson. According to a PHE press release, the star can be seen talking about sexual health with young people and discussing their attitudes to using a condom.

It also features TV doctors Dr Sara Kayat and Dr Joe Peterson Camp.

Speaking about the campaign, Sam Thompson said: “I’m on a mission to encourage young people across the country to use condoms, with the help of Dr Sara and Dr Joe. We’re not talking about safe sex or normalising the use of condoms enough, and finding out all the facts about STIs has taught me so much, which I want to let everyone know about too, so we can limit the spread of STIs.”

Shocking figures amongst young people

Latest figures show that there were 400,000 sexually transmitted infections diagnosed during 2017, with 144,000 of those occurring in young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea pose the biggest threat to young people, with 63% of chlamydia diagnoses and 37% of gonorrhoea diagnoses occurring in the 15-24 bracket.

The short films also press home the fact that many sexually transmitted infections are symptomless for most people. This means that they can go undiagnosed for long periods of time which means they are more likely to cause lasting damage.

Dr Rashid Bani from Your Sexual Health believes that public funding and support for local sexual health services is important to ensure that young people have easy access to free protection and STI testing.

 

He said: “New campaigns encouraging young people to discuss sexual health are obviously excellent, but more needs to be done on a facilities level to protect young people.

“Sexual health testing is becoming more inaccessible to young people and long waits at clinics make people too embarrassed to attend for fear that they might see someone they know.”

Your Sexual Health offer a private alternative to testing which enables clients to purchase their tests online and book an appointment at a private clinic. You can find out more about our private sexual health tests across our site.

How do you treat chlamydia?

How do you treat chlamydia?

sexual health medication

Chlamydia is treated with a routine course of antibiotics that are available with a prescription following a positive test or if a doctor believes it’s highly likely that you have the condition. This form of treatment is effective in 95% of people who take their antibiotic treatment as prescribed.  

There are two common types of antibiotics that are prescribed to treat chlamydia, they are: –

  • Azithromycin – the course will consist of 2 or 4 tablets taken in one sitting
  • Doxycycline – this is taken as 2 tablets taken every day for a week

In some instances doctors may prescribe different antibiotics if a patient is allergic to penicillin or is breastfeeding. A longer course of antibiotics may also be prescribed in instances that the patient is suffering from complications or severe symptoms as a result of chlamydia.

What to do once you’ve been treated

Once you’ve received treatment for chlamydia you should abstain from sexual activity for at least 7 days following the successful completion of antibiotics. It’s also recommended that you are retested two weeks following treatment to confirm a negative test. If you have a regular sexual partner it’s important that they are tested and then treated before you have sex with them again.

Getting treated without a test

Antibiotic treatment for chlamydia should only ever be taken if you have a prescription or following a positive test. Unfortunately many patients have been known to seek out treatment without a positive test by purchasing the drug online.

Taking antibiotics without a need can have a long term impact on your bodies immunity against serious infections. It can strengthen the resistance to the medication of dangerous bacteria that live inside the body meaning that if you get a serious infection in future it may be harder for you to fight it.

How to avoid getting chlamydia in future

Once you’ve been tested for chlamydia you’ll want to avoid getting the disease in future. You’ll also want to avoid the potential embarrassment of passing it on. These helpful tips can help you do so: –

  • Always use a condom when having sex with a new partner – condoms dramatically reduce the risk of infection
  • Get tested regularly and whenever you have a new sexual partner
  • If you’ve just begun having sex with someone new, encourage them to get tested

Your Sexual Health have a wide range of private chlamydia tests that are available to be carried out at one of our clinics nationwide or using our convenient postal or home visits service.

How soon can syphilis be detected following infection?

How soon can syphilis be detected following infection?

The primary symptom of syphilis usually takes between three to four weeks to show in the form of a small sore known as a chancre. The sore will not normally be painful, but it is highly infectious. Unfortunately it can often pass without detection and the infection progresses. The longer the disease is in your system, the more damage it can do.

Luckily tests are available, such as those from Your Sexual Health that can diagnose the condition as soon as 14 days following infection. This can lead to quick diagnosis if you think you’ve come into contact with the disease, helping you avoid nasty and contagious symptoms.

If the initial primary stage of syphilis passes without detection and the infection progresses to a secondary stage a rash will often appear. Unfortunately, without testing the rash can be mistaken for another condition and syphilis may go undiagnosed for many years. Continue reading

How to spot a fake STI test

Your Sexual Health’s advice to ensure you buy the real thing

There has been over 10,000 fake STI tests seized in the UK since 2015 and many more continue to be listed on online marketplaces. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned of the threat that the tests pose to public safety. Many of the tests are likely to give inaccurate results leading to STIs going untreated and spreading at a rapid rate.

Even with a positive result, many of these tests are unlikely to carry enough weight to get you the medication you require. Doctors will often have to test you again before offering a prescription. To help you avoid dodgy tests that may appear on online marketplaces such as Amazon or Ebay we have provided you with these easy to follow tips.

Packaging

Any medical testing product should come in sealed packaging. It will usually carry the mark of a laboratory or medical testing brand. All elements of the package, such as the swab, vial and urine specimen container should carry the same branding. They should also come with the CE Approval mark which is a vital safety marker.

Many fake tests come in unprofessional packaging. Often they will arrive in a plain zip lock bag or sometimes even a sandwich bag. There may also be a number of elements from various different companies or a lack of branding completely. No safety logo is another tell tale sign the test could be fake.

Instructions

Tests from genuine companies will always contain instructions that are easy to follow and will usually be printed in colour with illustrations that will help you take the sample properly. There may also be clear notices explaining that failure to follow the instructions properly may result in an inaccurate test. We also have an online video to make the process even more straightforward.

Fake tests will often have difficult to follow instructions that look like they’ve been printed on a home printer in black and white. The quality of English may be poor without any clear illustrations.

Before you buy

Before you buy your test you should do your research. Genuine sellers will usually be backed up by a website that has thorough information about their products and general sexual health. Do they have a doctor on their website or are they backed by a proper laboratory? Do they have reviews and signage on their website that instills trust, such as TrustPilot, FeeFo or Trustwave. If you’re purchasing the test on an online marketplace do they have reviews?

Many fake tests will not have a trustworthy website to back-up their products. Their seller accounts may have been set-up only recently – something you will be able to tell by looking at their review history. It’s also worth asking, is this a product that should require medical assistance to carry out.

Look at the reviews to see if their customers were happy with the test and their results. Finally, work out if the test will enable you to receive medication. With Your Sexual Health you can gain a prescription when you test positive, not all test providers are the same.

Sexual health clinics in England fail to meet HIV Testing targets

Sexual health clinics in England fail to meet HIV Testing targets

Despite their mandate set out to offer HIV testing to all attendees, sexual health clinics are still failing to offer the test to around 10% of people. The findings are reported following analysis into Public Health England data that was recently published in the International Journal of STD & AIDS.

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Should I be having sex during chlamydia treatment?

Should I be having sex during chlamydia treatment?

It’s a question that gets asked regularly by people receiving chlamydia treatment, Your Sexual Health’s specialist Dr Rashid Bani has the answer…

Sex during chlamydia treatment

Once you’ve been diagnosed with chlamydia you’ll be given a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Usually the antibiotic treatment for chlamydia is taken in one single dose, but it still takes up to seven days for the chlamydia bacteria to completely leave your system. Because of this it’s important not to have sex until seven days after you took the medication. If you’ve had a longer course of antibiotics you should wait until seven days after the medication has finished.

What about my partner?

If you’re in a relationship where you’ve been sleeping with the same person for a period of time, it’s important that the other person also get tested and treated. There is a very high likelihood that they’ll also have chlamydia and without treatment they’ll pass it back to you once you’re all clear. In these instances it’s important that you don’t have sex until both of you have been treated for the condition.

Can I have PROTECTED sex following chlamydia treatment?

Even though condoms can dramatically reduce the chances of chlamydia passing from person to person they do not completely eliminate the chances of the condition spreading. For this reason it’s important that you completely refrain from sexual intercourse of any kind until seven days after your medication has finished even if you use a condom.

What to do after the seven day period?

Once the seven day period has passed following your treatment the chlamydia should have passed out of your system. In order to be certain, you should complete another chlamydia test to confirm that you’re clear. The test should be taken two weeks after you’ve completed the antibiotic treatment to be absolutely sure.

Once that’s confirmed you can continue having sex, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be able to pass on chlamydia. If your partner was also infected you should wait until they’re clear before having sex again.

Remember that once the infection has passed you can still catch it again if you come into contact with the bacteria so make sure you practice safe sex and follow these steps: –

  • Always use a condom when having sex with a new partner
  • Get checked regularly, especially if you’ve had sex with multiple partners
  • If you’re starting a relationship with a new partner ensure they get tested

You can book a private chlamydia test with Your Sexual Health and get tested at one of our clinic locations across the UK. We also offer a prescription service enabling you to get treatment if your test returns as positive. Book an appointment today.

Gardnerella Vaginallis in Men

Can men get gardnerella vaginallis?

Gardnerella vaginallis is a bacteria that can cause bacterial vaginosis. Despite gardnerella mainly affecting women it can still be passed to men as a colonisation within the male urethra. More often than not an infected male will not show any symptoms and treatment is often not required. If a man is symptomatic then treatment can be administered to clear the infection.

Strictly speaking, gardnerella vaginallis or bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed from a woman to a man during unprotected sexual intercourse. It’s also not ruled that an infected man can pass the condition to a woman. This article explains a little more about the condition.

About Gardnerella Vaginallis

Garderella vaginallis is a bacteria which can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV) in a woman. Bacterial vaginosis is the result of a change in the bacterial balance within the vagina. Although the condition is not pleasant, it is quite common with 1 in 3 women experiencing the condition throughout their lifetime.

Bacterial vaginosis and gardnerella vaginallis are not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection, but you’re more likely to contract the condition if you’re sexually active and you’ve had a change of partner. It can also be caused by an IUD contraceptive device or by using perfumed products around the vagina.

It can be passed from a woman to another woman during sex, whilst it can also be passed to a man, often without causing any symptoms.

Women who haven’t had sex can also experience the condition.

Symptoms

There are usually no symptoms of the gardnerella bacteria in men, whilst many women can have the condition without symptoms. Those who are symptomatic may experience the following signs: –

  • Vaginal discharge with a strong unpleasant smell
  • Strong vaginal odour and a fishy smell after sex
  • Vaginal itching
  • Painful urination

Diagnosis and Treatment of gardnerella vaginallis

Gardneralla vaginallis can be diagnosed by testing for the condition using either a urine or swab sample. Your Sexual Health offer a wide range of private STI tests that can diagnose the bacteria, including our Profile 1 test.

If gardnerella vaginallis is present when tested then it can be treated using a routine course of antibiotics and it will usually clear in a matter of days. These can be prescribed as part of the service offered by Your Sexual Health.

Does chlamydia cause infertility?

A question on many patient’s minds

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK and as a result it affects many people at some point during their adult life. Although it can easily be treated with a routine course of antibiotics, it often shows no signs or symptoms. For this reason chlamydia can remain undiagnosed for a long period of time and may lead to complications such as infertility.

To help answer your questions and guide your concerns the specialist team at Your Sexual Health have put together this useful article.

Pregnancy Test - Chlamydia and infertility

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