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  • February 03, 2016
  • by White Pharmacy under 
  • Wellbeing, White Pharmacy, STI, Chlamydia
  • Did you know there are at least 15 fake products being sold online claiming to treat, cure or prevent STIs?

    An incredible number of myths surround the delicate subject of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. According to medical professionals, STIs have a high probability of being spread from person to person through sexual contact, but there are cases when other factors can cause the infection.

    The term ‘STI’ is quite broad: some infections are curable and may not cause any symptoms. However, if the infection results in altering the typical function of the body, it is then called a disease e.g. STD for “sexually transmitted disease” or VD for “venereal disease”.

    White Pharmacy want to make sure that our customers are always informed and up-to-date with all factors that can affect their general wellbeing. For this reason we have put together a list of the most common STD and STI myths. We hope it will help you tell the difference between what is true and what is not when it comes to this delicate topic.

    FIVE COMMON MYTHS ABOUT STIs/STDs:

    1. “STIs and STDs can only be sexually transmitted”

    This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. It is the general belief that sex needs to occur and fluids exchanged in order for infections to be passed, because they are called ‘sexually transmitted’.

    It is certainly true that you are at higher risk if you have, or have had, more than one sexual partner. You also run the risk of becoming infected if you have sex with someone who has had many partners or if you don’t use a condom when having sex.

    However, for some STIs, no penetration is needed. Germs hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions and also sometimes in saliva. Some, such as those that cause genital herpes and genital warts, may spread through skin contact. You can even get hepatitis B by sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with someone who has the disease.

    You can also be infected with Trichomoniasis (‘trich’) through contact with damp objects such as towels, wet clothing or toilet seats, although it is most commonly spread by sexual contact. STIs can also be spread if you have shared needles when injecting intravenous drugs.

    2. “You cannot be cured from an STI/STD”

    No, you are not doomed! There are different types of STIs – bacterial, viral and parasitic. Bacterial and parasitic infections can be cured. Viral infections can be treated, but not completely cured.

    Bacterial STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Viral STIs/STDs include HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV) – of which there are many types – and hepatitis B. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

    3. “People only get STIs/STDs through same-gender sex”

    There used to be a widespread belief in the 1980s and 90s that these infections only affected homosexuals. However, all these types of infections can occur regardless of whom you choose to have sex with.

    4. “STI/STD symptoms can be easily spotted

    Knowing as much as possible about STDs and STIs is one of the best ways to keep you healthy. If you are a teenager, it may be helpful to get information from an adult such as a parent, school nurse or teacher.

    Sometimes people with STIs do not have any symptoms. If you are not routinely getting tested, you won’t know your status. You could be unknowingly passing it onto other partners or the infection could be doing some significant harm to your body. Some of the best tools for prevention and early detection are:

    • Communicating with your sexual partners about their STI status

    • Routine testing

    • Safer sex practices

    5. “Self-diagnosis is not dangerous”

    If you have an STI or STD, you should really seek professional medical advice. There are at least 15 fake products being sold online claiming to treat, cure or prevent STDs. While their websites look official and medically informative, you should not trust them. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA states that none of these products have been shown to treat any disease and they may have untested ingredients that could cause harm. Effective treatments for sexually transmitted diseases are only available by prescription from a certified health professional. Keep an eye out for products with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) logo. If you click on it you can confirm that the website you’re on is legitimate. Feel free to test it on the White Pharmacy website!

  • January 28, 2016
  • by White Pharmacy under 
  • Wellbeing, White Pharmacy, STI, Chlamydia
  • “STIQ Day” was held on 14th January, as it is every year, to raise awareness about sexual health. As a campaign, STIQ day encourages you to think and start talking about your sexual health, and motivates more people to get regular sexual health checks. Two weeks after the start of a New Year, STIQ day on 14th January is chosen as many unprotected sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia, can take two weeks to be detectable with a simple STI test kit.

    The facts: STIs are on the rise

    No matter your age, gender or sexual orientation you are all at risk of contracting an STI after just one occasion of unprotected sex. As the importance of sexual health becomes more widely discussed and information about STIs and their prevention becomes more accessible to most, the expectation would be that the number of recorded cases should drop.

    However, according to Public Health England figures, the number of new STI diagnoses in the UK increased by 40% between 2004 and 2013.

    Chlamydia was the most common STI with 208,765 recorded incidents in 2013, and this accounted for almost half of all cases. However, the largest increase in STI diagnosis between 2004 and 2013 was herpes, up 93%! Following herpes was gonorrhoea, increasing by 42%. Very importantly, and sadly, the number of women contracting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) as a result of an STI soared by 25%. As reports indicate that cases of STIs are continuing to grow, what can we do to protect ourselves and raise awareness of sexual health?

    How to protect yourself

    So, before you start having STI-related nightmares, it is important not to panic. Remember that your health is in your hands, and it is actually pretty easy to stay safe.

    Here’s how to practise safe sex and avoid becoming a scary statistic:

    Penetrative sex (anal and vaginal) is the most likely way of contracting a STI, so it is important to use condoms if you are not 100% sure that your partner is STI-free.

    • Don’t forget that oral sex can lead to STIs such as herpes, syphilis, gonorrhoea , chlamydia and the HPV virus too. You should avoid oral sex if you have cuts or sores in your mouth as infection can be transmitted through open wounds.

    Monitor any symptoms you might be having, especially if you are having unprotected sex or multiple sexual partners. STI symptoms include unusual discharge, pain and bleeding between periods, rashes or sores around the genitals.

    • You should also be aware that not all STIs come with symptoms (around 50% of men do not have any symptoms from chlamydia), so it is best to get checked after unprotected sex.

    Talk openly. The topic of sexual health has held the stigma of embarrassment for many years. However, if you have a new partner and think you may have caught an STI, you should discuss the possibility you have an STI or they may become infected. The concern can then be resolved with the appropriate tests and treatment.

    Reduce the number of sexual partners. You are more at risk of contracting an STI if you have sex with a higher number of people. To safeguard yourself you should limit your number of sexual partners.

    Get tested. It is usual for common STIs to present little or no obvious symptoms. Therefore, you could be infected without knowing. In turn, if you have concerns and are asking the question “Could I have an STI?”, you should get tested.

    Get treated. A wide range of the most commonly diagnosed STIs can be quickly treated with a course of antibiotics. Leaving infections untreated can and does lead to long-term and serious health problems. You also owe it to your partner, ex-partner or both to be told if you have an STI, as they will also need to be tested and treated as soon as possible. Treatment is effective, so you don’t have to hesitate.