Alix Fox thumbnail with text reading 'the what and why on common STIs

If all the info flying around on the internet about STIs has sent your head into a spin, we’re not surprised! There’s a lot to take in, which is why we’ve asked our resident sexpert, Alix Fox, to explain the whats and whys of common STIs. We’ll run through the basics of three STIs (gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes) and let you know the symptoms and treatment options available. If you wanna up your know-how of STIs, watch Alix’s video and read below to find all the info you need.

Superdrug’s got your back

First up, it’s important for you to know that Superdrug has an amazing service called Online Doctor, where you can find everything you need to keep your sexual health on point. From tests to treatments, we’ve got you covered. Simply click below to check out your options.

Gonorrhoea

Aside from being impossible to spell, gonorrhoea is a pretty common STI in the UK. The bacteria can be passed between people through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex and can affect the cervix, urethra, rectum and even the throat and eyes.

Symptoms: You might notice a thick green or yellow discharge from the penis or vagina, and it could be a tad painful to wee. Women may also experience bleeding between their periods. However, one in 10 men and 50% of women show no symptoms at all… eek!

Treatment: Gonorrhoea can be treated really easily with one antibiotic tablet and a single antibiotic injection. From gonorrhoea to GONE-orrhoea (sorry, not sorry!).

Chlamydia

Another common STI in the UK, chlamydia is also passed from person to person through unprotected sex. One thing to note with this STI, though, is that there doesn’t have to be penetration for the infection to be passed on. Chlamydia can be spread through simple touching of genitals if one partner is infected.

Symptoms: Once again, most cases of chlamydia show no symptoms. Some people might have a bit more discharge from the penis, vagina or rectum, and there could be some bleeding between periods or after sex, but generally it’s a pretty tough one to spot without a proper STI check.

Treatment: This STI can also be cured by good ol’ antibiotics. Simply ask your GP, visit a sexual health clinic or check out Superdrug’s Online Doctor for treatment options. 

Herpes

Herpes is easily transferred through sex or even skin-to-skin contact, but the chances of contracting it are made higher if a sufferer is showing symptoms. These include small blisters or cold sores around the mouth or genital areas. Once you catch herpes, it’s there for life – but it tends not to cause any problems for most people.

However, others might experience outbreaks of blisters, which can become quite painful. Your doctor can prescribe soothing creams, which will dry out the sores and help them heal.

If you know you’re a carrier of herpes and you tend to get outbreaks of the virus, bear that in mind when you’re with a partner. As the infection is so easy to pass on, it’s best to refrain from sex whenever you feel an episode coming on.

Get tested… like now!

So now you know the whats and whys of common STIs, but what about your status? Knowing your STI status can be really empowering as it means you can give yourself the proper care and look after others as well. To get tested, visit Superdrug’s Online Doctor for more information.