Sexual Health Friday September 13, 2013

How many STIs Can You Name in Ten Seconds?

Following on from the HealthExpress contraception video, Chief Medical Advisor Dr Hilary Jones once again took to the streets of London to find out how much the average person knows about sexually transmitted infections. This time we wanted to find out how many STIs people could name and whether they'd heard of the lesser-known infections.

From those we interviewed, only a small number were confident in naming more than a handful of STIs. Many could only name one or two infections at best. The most common responses were chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes with very few people claiming to have heard of other, equally harmful conditions. Below are the less well-known STIs you need to be aware of.

The Ones You Missed

Ureaplasma urealyticum

Although not considered a typical STI, ureaplasma can be transmitted through sexual contact. It is a bacterium that affects about 70% of sexually active people. Ureaplasma usually doesn't cause symptoms but, if left untreated, it can cause serious health problems.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is most common in sexually active women. Caused by a combination of different bacteria, it is the most common type of vaginal infection. It may increase a woman's risk of uterus infection or pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated. It may also increase the risk of contracting other STIs.

Mycoplasma genitalium

With similar characteristics to chlamydia and gonorrhoea, mycoplasma genitalium is often difficult to diagnose as it usually occurs in conjunction with other STIs. It is commonly associated with bacterial vaginosis in women. If left untreated mycoplasma may cause infertility, so it's essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Non-Specific Urethritis

Non-specific urethritis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection commonly spread by chlamydia. It mainly affects men, although women can also develop the infection. It is called 'non-specific' because the direct cause is not known. It causes an inflammation of the urethra that, if left untreated, can lead to infertility.

Trichomonas Vaginalis

The trichomonas parasite affects a man's urethra and prostate gland, and a woman's urethra and vagina. This STI mainly affects women, although it is relatively uncommon. If left untreated it can cause premature labour or infection of the prostate.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection. The bacteria can enter your body if you have close contact with an infected sore, normally during sex. The symptoms of syphilis develop over 3 stages. The first is characterised by the appearance of a painless but extremely infectious sore around the genitals or mouth, whereas the in the final stage the infection can lead to serious conditions such as blindness, paralysis or even death.

How can I avoid STIs?

The only way to completely guard against catching an STI is to abstain from sex altogether. However by using barrier contraception such as a condom when you have sex you can ensure you stay as safe as possible.

If you are having regular sexual intercourse, particularly with different partners, it's important to have regular sexual health checks. This will ensure that any infection is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Treating STIs

Most STIs can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. This is the case for two of the most common infections; Clamydia and Gonorrhoea. You can find out more about the various treatment options for all the above STIs here.

If you think you have an infection, why not take a short online consultation with one of our partner doctors? If you are approved for a prescription the doctor will then recommend a treatment, which will be delivered to you via our free same day or next day delivery service, depending on where you live.

Written by Nicola Beckett.
Latest Stories

Get your daily dose of inspiration from our Best of healthexpress blog , where we showcase some of the most stunning stories and information.

Sexual Health

The Future Of Sexual Health: Les...

What does the sexual health future hold if antibiotics become ineffective? Despite huge leaps in healthcare technology over the past few years,...

Sexual Health

New 3-Minute Test Could Enable S...

A new computer program, that can analyse bacterial DNA, may speed up the diagnosis of drug-resistant infections and help better target antibiotics....

Sexual Health

Government Cuts Could Lead To A ...

'An explosion in sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea' is approaching. No, this isn't a news...

Sexual Health

What Can Quitting Alcohol Do For...

Dry January - woo! I won't get drenched on the school run. Oh, it actually means giving up alcohol? Oh dear. Not quite the same thing. So why...

 What Does Antibiotic Resistance Mean For Sexual Health?
Sexual Health

What Does Antibiotic Resistance...

Antibiotic resistance is not a warning of a far-flung future apocalyptic doom, it's happening right now. And yes, we should be worried. The golden...

Sexual Health

Not Enjoying Sex? Here's What Yo...

Want a sex life hotter than the fire of a thousand suns? Read on! It's Sexual Health Week at the moment, and the theme of this year's campaign...

Load More Stories
comments powered by Disqus