SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC

We are a Glasgow based Sexual Health Clinic, providing testing and treatment for the main STIs/STDs, including HIV, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Chlamydia.

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STI Clinic in Glasgow

We provide private STI Test & STI Screening at our Clinic in Glasgow. Most results are available the next day.
Whether you are concerned about a specific sexual transmitted infection (STI) or simply want to check your status we offer a series of checks designed to meet your needs.

100% Confidential

Discretion guaranteed

Fast Results

Accredited testing laboratory

Cost 

Standard STI Screen - £180
Comprehensive STI Screen - £380
Individual Tests - On request

The following STI options are available at our clinic:

STANDARD STI SCREEN

Suitable for: Sexually active people with no symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, or low risk factors.

Fee: £180
Results: Next day

Testing for:
Blood tests: HIV 1&2/p24 antigen, Syphilis IgG/IgM
Urine tests: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea

COMPREHENSIVE STI SCREEN

Suitable for: Sexually active people who are showing symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, or high risk factors.

Fee: £380
Results: 1-4 days

Testing for:
Blood tests: HIV 1&2/p24 antigen, Hep B surface Antigen, Hep C Abs/Ag, Syphilis IgG/IgM
Urine tests: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasma, Trichomonas vaginalis, Gardnerella vaginalis, Herpes Simplex I/II

INDIVIDUAL STI TESTS

All STI tests could be carried out separately by request.

... any questions? Look here

When you are unsure about your exposure activity, it is best to be safe and take a Comprehensive STI Screen test to cover as many risks as possible.

Even if you only slept with a person once; you are still at risk of contracting an infection.
Take a Standard STI Screen test before any further sexual activity. 

You should choose a Comprehensive Screen due to the higher risk from a sex worker having a large number of unknown clients and the ease of infections spreading quickly.

You can still catch STI/STD’s from using your mouth and hands by performing oral sex. A Standard Screen will cover common infections that can be transmitted from genitals.

There are some common STI’s that can be passed on through body contact alone and a Standard Screen will test for infections transmitted in genital fluids from touching a partner intimately (such as ‘fingering’).
If you feel there was any blood contact or cuts/sores when you touched, it is best to have a Standard Screen.

There are higher risks from sexual activity with the anus and rectum. A Standard Screen will cover common risks.

Allow at least 10 days to be tested

The period of time (number of days) that you must wait between any exposure incident and getting tested is different for each type of infection.

See incubation periods HERE

It’s often many people’s instinct to get tested straightaway following unprotected sex or a one night stand. Unfortunately, some STDs take time to present in the body, therefore needing a certain amount of time to pass before testing to get accurate results.

This time in between, is known as the incubation period. It’s the time that the infection needs to reach a detectable level in the body. In the case of most viral testing this period is a little longer because the tests require your body to produce antibodies in order to detect it.

Testing before these times have passed might result in false negatives, meaning you’ll need to retest at a later date to get treatment or you might think you’re clear and pass the STD to future sexual partners.

This varies by the test chosen but it is usually a next day result.

You can specify to the practitioner how you want to receive your results, which is normally a PDF file sent to you by email.

Please refer to the prices section of our website.

Yes. Your results are 100% confidential.

Your booking details and results will NOT be shared with any third parties or your NHS GP.

GP Matters is an independent healthcare clinic and therefore you have complete privacy from the NHS and your medical records.

It depends on what you test positive for. We will provide you with advice, guidance and access to treatment.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

STI Testing in Glasgow

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: 1–3 weeks, up to 6 weeks
Sample site: Urine 

Chlamydia is the most common curable STI diagnosed in the UK. Often asymptomatic, anyone who is sexually active is considered to be at increased risk of chlamydia infection.

It is the most commonly recognised,screened and treated of all STI’s.

It's passed on through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and is particularly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults.

If you're a woman, sexually active and under 25 in England, it's recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year, and when you have sex with new or casual partners.

If you're a man, sexually active and under 25 in England, it's recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year if you are not using condoms with new or casual partners.

Symptoms of chlamydia
Most people with chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and do not know they have it.

If you do develop symptoms, you may experience:

pain when peeing
unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or bottom
in women, pain in the tummy, bleeding after sex and bleeding between periods
in men, pain and swelling in the testicles
If you think you're at risk of having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or have any symptoms of chlamydia, visit a GP, community contraceptive service or local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to get tested.


How do you get chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. The bacteria are usually spread through sex or contact with infected genital fluids (semen or vaginal fluid).

You can get chlamydia through:

unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
sharing sex toys that are not washed or covered with a new condom each time they're used
your genitals coming into contact with your partner's genitals – this means you can get chlamydia from someone even if there's no penetration, orgasm or ejaculation
infected semen or vaginal fluid getting into your eye
It can also be passed by a pregnant woman to her baby.

Chlamydia cannot be passed on through casual contact, such as kissing and hugging, or from sharing baths, towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or cutlery.

Is chlamydia serious?
Although chlamydia does not usually cause any symptoms and can normally be treated with a short course of antibiotics, it can be serious if it's not treated early on.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and lead to long-term health problems, especially in women.

In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

In men, in rare cases, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and epididymis (tubes that carry sperm from the testicles), causing them to become painful and swollen. This is known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of the testicles).

It can also sometimes cause reactive arthritis in men and women.

This is why it's important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have chlamydia.

Getting tested for chlamydia
Testing for chlamydia is done with a urine test or a swab test.

You do not always need a physical examination by a nurse or doctor.

Anyone can get a free and confidential chlamydia test at a sexual health clinic, a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or a GP surgery.

In England, if you're a woman under 25 years old, you may be offered a chlamydia test when you visit some health services, for example a pharmacy or GP. This offer is part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP).

If you're offered a chlamydia test you should consider taking it.

If you're a woman, sexually active and under 25 in England, it's recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year, and when you have sex with new or casual partners.

If you're a man, sexually active and under 25 in England, it's recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year if you are not using condoms with new or casual partners.

You can also buy chlamydia testing kits to do at home.

How chlamydia is treated
Chlamydia can usually be treated easily with antibiotics.

You may be given a course of doxycycline to take for a week or azithromycin to take once a day for 3 days.

If you have doxycycline, you should not have sex (including oral sex) until you and your current sexual partner have finished treatment.

If you have azithromycin, you should wait 7 days after treatment before having sex (including oral sex).

It's important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners you have had are also tested and treated to help stop the spread of the infection.

Under-25s who have chlamydia should be offered another test 3 to 6 months after being treated.

This is because young adults who test positive for chlamydia are at increased risk of catching it again.

Sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics can help you contact your sexual partners.

Either you or the clinic can speak to them, or they can be sent a note advising them to get tested.

The note will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality will be protected.

Preventing chlamydia
Anyone who's sexually active can catch chlamydia.

You're most at risk if you have a new sexual partner or do not use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, when having sex.

You can help to prevent the spread of chlamydia by:

using a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex
using a condom to cover the penis during oral sex
using a dam (a piece of thin, soft plastic or latex) to cover the female genitals during oral sex or when rubbing female genitals together
not sharing sex toys
If you do share sex toys, wash them or cover them with a new condom between each person who uses them.

Source:
TDL
NHS

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: 2–7 days, up to 1 month
Sample site: Urine 

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It used to be known as "the clap".

How gonorrhoea is spread
The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid.

Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:

unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
sharing vibrators or other sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom each time they're used
The bacteria can infect the entrance to the womb (cervix), the tube that passes urine out of the body (urethra), the rectum and, less commonly, the throat or eyes.

The infection can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. If you're pregnant and may have gonorrhoea, it's important to get tested and treated before your baby is born.

Without treatment, gonorrhoea can cause permanent blindness in a newborn baby.

Gonorrhoea is not spread by kissing, hugging, swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing baths, towels, cups, plates or cutlery. The bacteria cannot survive outside the human body for long.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea
Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when peeing and, in women, bleeding between periods.

But around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms.

Getting tested
If you have any of the symptoms of gonorrhoea or you're worried you may have an STI, you should visit a sexual health clinic for a sexual health test.

Gonorrhoea can be easily diagnosed by testing a sample of discharge picked up using a swab. In men, testing a sample of urine can also diagnose the condition.

It's important to get tested as soon as possible because gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems if it's not treated, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women or infertility.

Treating gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection (usually in the buttocks or thigh). With effective treatment, most of your symptoms should improve within a few days.

It's usually recommended you attend a follow-up appointment a week or 2 after treatment so another test can be carried out to see if you're clear of infection.

You should avoid having sex until you have been told you no longer have the infection.

Previous successful treatment for gonorrhoea does not make you immune to catching it again.

Who's affected
Anyone who's sexually active can catch gonorrhoea, particularly people who change partners frequently or do not use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, when having sex. (See Your contraception guide.)

Gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial STI in the UK after chlamydia.

In 2019, more than 70,000 people were diagnosed with gonorrhoea in England, with most cases affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Preventing gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea and other STIs can be successfully prevented by using appropriate contraception and taking other precautions, such as:

using male condoms or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex, or male condoms during anal sex
using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals if you have oral sex
not sharing sex toys, or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

Source:

TDL
NHS

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: Symptoms develop at 1–3 weeks
Sample site: Urine

Mycoplasma genitalium (M.gen) is an important sexually transmitted pathogen detectable only by NAAT. M.gen lacks a cell wall and has limited treatment options. It spontaneously develops resistance to antimicrobials. BASHH recommends treatment with Resistance Guided Therapy – testing for M.gen with macrolide resistance determination. M.gen cannot be cultured for diagnostic testing. M.gen prevalence is higher than GC, and in some populations can be similar to CT.

M.gen risk factors are similar to CT and consider testing M.gen in all males with non-GC urethritis and all individuals with signs or symptoms of PID, cervicitis, endometritis, associated infertility, ano-rectal condition or epididymo-orchitis. Partner testing is advised for current partners only. Rectal infections are common, and appear to be an important reservoir for resistance. BASHH guidance – all patients must return for test of cure at 3-5 weeks.

Source: TDL

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: Symptoms develop at 1–3 weeks
Sample site: Urine

U. Urealyticum and parvum are strains of bacteria that can lead to urinary tract infection and pelvic inflammation. Usually asymptomatic, it is part of the normal genital flora of both men and women. It is found in about 70% of sexually active humans. In males with lower sperm quality, ureaplasma infection could lead to a more pronounced decreased in some seminal parameters and compromise sperm motility.

Source: TDL

Type: Parasitic
Incubation period: 4–28 days, many patients are asymptomatic carriers
Sample site: Urine

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

Symptoms of trichomoniasis
Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection.

But up to half of all people will not develop any symptoms (though they can still pass the infection on to others).

The symptoms of trichomoniasis are similar to those of many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms in women
Trichomoniasis in women can cause:

abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
soreness, swelling and itching around the vagina – sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy
pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex

Symptoms in men
Trichomoniasis in men can cause:

pain when peeing or during ejaculation
needing to pee more frequently than usual
thin, white discharge from the penis
soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis or foreskin

When to get medical advice
See a GP or go to your local sexual health clinic (sometimes called a GUM clinic) if you develop any of the symptoms of trichomoniasis or you think you may be infected.

Trichomoniasis can usually be diagnosed after an examination of the genitals and a laboratory test carried out on a swab taken from the vagina or penis.

If the test shows you have trichomoniasis, it's important that your current sexual partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated.

How do you get trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

In women, this parasite mainly infects the vagina and the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).

In men, the infection most commonly affects the urethra, but the head of the penis or prostate gland – a gland near the bladder that helps produce semen – can become infected in some cases.

The parasite is usually spread by having sex without using a condom.

It could also be spread by sharing sex toys if you do not wash them or cover them with a new condom before use.

You do not have to have many sexual partners to catch trichomoniasis. Anyone who's sexually active can catch it and pass it on.

Trichomoniasis is not thought to be passed on through oral or anal sex.

You also cannot pass on trichomoniasis through:

kissing or hugging
sharing cups, plates or cutlery
toilet seats
The best way to prevent trichomoniasis is to have safe sex. This means always using a condom when having sex, covering any sex toys you use with a condom, and washing sex toys after use.

Treating trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Most men and women are treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole, which is usually taken twice a day for 5 to 7 days.

It's important to complete the whole course of antibiotics and avoid having sex until the infection clears up to prevent reinfection.

Your current sexual partner and any other recent partners should also be treated.

Complications of trichomoniasis
Complications of trichomoniasis are rare, although some women with the infection may be at an increased risk of further problems.

If you're infected with trichomoniasis while you're pregnant, the infection may cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight.

SOURCE: 
NHS 
TDL

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: Imbalance of normal flora
Sample site:  Urine

Gardnerella vaginalis is a bacterium rather than a sexually transmitted infection. It is part of the normal vaginal flora but, when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, it can flourish and overgrow leading to bacterial vaginosis. Does it matter if it not an STI? Yes, because it can be characterised by a fishy smelling, white vaginal discharge, itching, burning, and irritation, and there are some known pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory conditions associated with Gardnerella as well as a higher risk of getting other STI’s.

In a patient with signs and symptoms suggestive of bacterial vaginosis detection of G. vaginalis provides supportive evidence of bacterial vaginosis. It can, however, be detected in asymptomatic individuals and it can also be absent in patients with bacterial vaginosis which has been caused by overgrowth of other similar organisms such as Mobiluncus and Atopobium species. Results should be interpreted in line with patient’s clinical symptoms and microscopy.

Source: TDL

Type: Viral
Incubation period: 2–14 days. Testing is most appropriate for patients with symptomatic lesion(s)
Sample site: Urine

Genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus lives in the nerves and when active it travels to the surface of the infected area and makes copies of itself – called shedding, because new virus cells can at this time rub off onto another person. The virus travels back down the nerve to a ganglion usually at the base of the spine where it lies dormant for a while. It causes painful blisters on the genitalia and surrounding areas. It can be passed through intimate sexual contact and for this reason is referred to as an STI. Once infected, it remains a chronic long term condition with the virus remaining with recurrent activity with variable frequency.

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: Type I and Type 2. Both are highly contagious and can be passed easily from one person to another. There is no cure for genital herpes, the symptoms can usually be controlled by antiviral medication. Although using a condom can reduce the risk of herpes transmission, condoms are not 100% effective as herpes can be spread from skin-to-skin.

Source: TDL

Type: Bacterial
Incubation period: 9 –21 days, but up to 90 days
Sample site: Blood

What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is most commonly contracted by having sex with someone who already has the infection. It can be cured relatively easy with a short course of antibiotics, however if it goes unnoticed and untreated it can spread in the form of “tertiary syphilis” and affect you later on in life.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?
Primary syphilis
The symptoms of syphilis can be separated into three stages, the first symptoms develop two to three weeks after infection. This stage of infection is known as “primary syphilis” and the first signs are: –

A small painless sore or ulcer called a chancre that can often go unnoticed. Most patients have just one chancre, but others may have multiple.
It will typically be on the penis, vagina or anus, although they have been known to develop on the mouth or lips.
You may also have swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpit indicating infection without many other symptoms.
These symptoms will usually pass within two to eight weeks, but if they go unnoticed then the condition will progress to secondary syphilis.

Secondary syphilis
Once your initial symptoms have passed you may develop further symptoms a number of weeks down the line. This phase is known as “secondary syphilis” and the main symptoms are: –

A blotchy red rash which may appear anywhere on the body, but is most common on the soles of the feet or palms of the hand.
Small skin growths that look similar to genital warts appearing predominantly around the anus, but sometimes on the vulva for women.
White patches in the mouth.
Flu-like symptoms, including joint pains, fever, fatigue and headaches.
Swollen glands indicating the presence of an infection.
One occasional symptom could be patchy hair loss.
These can come and go for a period of months before they disappear. Some people may not notice any symptoms following the primary phase, but are still infected and can pass the condition to other people.

Tertiary syphilis
If the symptoms of syphilis pass without treatment then the condition can last for decades without causing any further symptoms. However it can spread to parts of the body, including the nerves or brain which is known as “tertiary syphilis”. It is not usually contagious at this stage.

People with tertiary syphilis can experience a range of serious health complications, including: –

Meningitis
Strokes
Dementia symptoms
Loss of co-ordination
Numbness
Vision problems
Heart problems
Even at this stage Syphilis is still treatable with antibiotics, but the effects are much harder to reverse that in the early stages.

How is it contracted?
Syphilis is usually spread through close contact with an infected sore during vaginal, anal or oral sex. However, syphilis can also be spread by sharing sex toys with someone who is infected. It is also possible to contract the condition by sharing needles or from blood transfusions, but this is very rare.

What private syphilis test options are available?
Here at GP Matters we have a range of private STD tests which can be used to diagnose syphilis. They include our individual syphilis test, which is accurate from 21 days following the contraction of the condition. It uses a blood sample to detect antibodies present in your blood. We also offer a range of profile STD tests, many of which can diagnose syphilis as well as many other conditions using the same sample.

How is syphilis treated?
Following diagnosis of the condition syphilis is treated one of two ways. One way is through an injection of antibiotics into the buttocks. This can be administered once or up to three times at weekly intervals depending how long you may have had the condition. The other way to treat the condition is through a course of anti-biotic tablets which usually lasts two or four weeks.  

How can you prevent syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed from infected individuals during sex meaning that anyone who has sex with an infected person is at risk. As with any sexually transmitted disease though, practising safe sex will reduce your chance of contracting the condition. The following methods will reduce the risk involved: –

Use a condom – whether male or female, the use of a condom for vaginal, oral and anal sex will reduce your chance of getting infected.
Use a dental dam during oral sex.
Avoid sharing sex toys or wash and cover them with a condom before each use.

How common is the condition?
Like many STDs in the UK, syphilis is currently on the rise with cases jumping by 76% between 2012 and 2015. That said, it’s not the most common sexually transmitted disease. In 2015 there were 5,228 cases reported in the UK.

Source: NHS, TDL

Type: Viral
Incubation period: Usually 10 –90 days, but up to 180 days
Sample site: Blood

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease.

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus.

While AIDS cannot be transmitted from 1 person to another, the HIV virus can.

There's currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

With an early diagnosis and effective treatments, most people with HIV will not develop any AIDS-related illnesses and will live a near-normal lifespan.

Symptoms of HIV infection
Most people experience a short flu-like illness 2 to 6 weeks after HIV infection, which lasts for a week or 2.

After these symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause any symptoms for many years, although the virus continues to damage your immune system.

This means many people with HIV do not know they're infected.

Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested.

Some people are advised to have regular tests as they're at particularly high risk.

Causes of HIV infection
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk.

It's a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.

HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.

The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.

Other ways of getting HIV include:

sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
The chance of getting HIV through oral sex is very low and will be dependent on many things, such as whether you receive or give oral sex and the oral hygiene of the person giving the oral sex.

Diagnosing HIV
Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.

You can get tested in a number of places, including at a GP surgery, sexual health clinics and clinics run by charities.

The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. This involves testing a sample of your blood or saliva for signs of the infection.

It's important to be aware that:

emergency anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may stop you becoming infected if started within 72 hours of possible exposure to the virus – it's recommended that you start it as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours
an early diagnosis means you can start treatment sooner, which can improve your chances of controlling the virus, reduce the risk of becoming more unwell and reduce the chance of passing the virus on to others
Both positive and negative HIV tests may need to be repeated 1 to 3 months after potential exposure to HIV infection (this is known as the window period), but you should not wait this long to seek help:

clinics may offer a finger prick blood test, which can give you a result in minutes, but it may take up to a few days to get the results of a more detailed HIV test
home testing or home sampling kits are available to buy online or from pharmacies – depending on the type of test you use, your result will be available in a few minutes or a few days
If your first test suggests you have HIV, a further blood test will need to be carried out to confirm the result.

If this is positive, you'll be referred to a specialist HIV clinic for some more tests and a discussion about your treatment options.

Treatment for HIV
Antiretroviral medicines are used to treat HIV. They work by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage.

These come in the form of tablets, which need to be taken every day.

HIV is able to develop resistance to a single HIV medicine very easily, but taking a combination of different medicines makes this much less likely.

Most people with HIV take a combination of medicines. It's vital these are taken every day as recommended by your doctor.

The goal of HIV treatment is to have an undetectable viral load. This means the level of HIV virus in your body is low enough to not be detected by a test.

Living with HIV

If you're living with HIV, taking effective HIV treatment and being undetectable significantly reduces your risk of passing HIV on to others.

You'll also be encouraged to:

take regular exercise
eat a healthy diet
stop smoking
have yearly flu jabs to minimise the risk of getting serious illnesses
Without treatment, the immune system will become severely damaged, and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and severe infections can occur.

If you're planning on getting pregnant, it's important to talk to a GP. Although rare, it's possible to transmit HIV to your baby.

Preventing HIV
Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV infection.

There are many effective ways to prevent or reduce the risk of HIV infection, including:

using a condom for sex
post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
treatment for HIV to reduce the viral load to undetectable
if you use drugs, never sharing needles or other injecting equipment, including syringes, spoons and swabs
Speak to your local sexual health clinic or a GP for further advice about the best way to reduce your risk.

For people with HIV, if you have been taking effective HIV treatment and your viral load has been undetectable for 6 months or more, it means you cannot pass the virus on through sex.

Source: NHS , TDL

Type: Viral
Incubation period:  Usually 45–180 days, average of 60–90 days
Sample site: Blood

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus that's spread through blood and body fluids.

It often does not cause any obvious symptoms in adults, and typically passes in a few months without treatment.

But in children, it often persists for years and may eventually cause serious liver damage.

Hepatitis B is less common in the UK than other parts of the world, but certain groups are at an increased risk.

This includes people originally from high-risk countries, people who inject drugs, and people who have unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners.

A hepatitis B vaccine is available for people at high risk of the condition.

Symptoms of hepatitis B
Many people with hepatitis B will not experience any symptoms and may fight off the virus without realising they had it.

If symptoms do develop, they tend to happen 2 or 3 months after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis B include:

flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, a fever, and general aches and pains
loss of appetite
feeling and being sick
diarrhoea
tummy pain
yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
These symptoms will usually pass within 1 to 3 months (acute hepatitis B), although occasionally the infection can last for 6 months or more (chronic hepatitis B).

When to get medical advice
Hepatitis B can be serious, so you should get medical advice if:

you think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus – emergency treatment can help prevent infection if given within a few days of exposure
you have symptoms associated with hepatitis B
you're at a high risk of hepatitis B – high-risk groups include people born in a country where the infection is common, babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis B, and people who have ever injected drugs
You can go to your local GP surgery, drug service, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic for help and advice.

A blood test can be carried out to check if you have hepatitis B or have had it in the past.

The hepatitis B vaccine may also be recommended to reduce your risk of infection.

Treatments for hepatitis B
Treatment for hepatitis B depends on how long you have been infected for.

If you have been exposed to the virus in the past few days, emergency treatment can help stop you becoming infected.

If you have only had the infection for a few weeks or months (acute hepatitis B), you may only need treatment to relieve your symptoms while your body fights off the infection.

If you have had the infection for more than 6 months (chronic hepatitis B), you may be offered treatment with medicines that can keep the virus under control and reduce the risk of liver damage.

Chronic hepatitis B often requires long-term or lifelong treatment and regular monitoring to check for any further liver problems.

How hepatitis B is spread
The hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal fluids, of an infected person.

It can be spread:

from a mother to her newborn baby, particularly in countries where the infection is common (read more about hepatitis B in pregnancy)
within families (child to child) in countries where the infection is common
by injecting drugs and sharing needles and other drug equipment, such as spoons and filters
by having sex with an infected person without using a condom
by having a tattoo, body piercing, or medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment with unsterilised equipment
by sharing toothbrushes or razors contaminated with infected blood
Hepatitis B is not spread by kissing, holding hands, hugging, coughing, sneezing or sharing crockery and utensils.

Preventing hepatitis B
A vaccine that offers protection against hepatitis B is routinely available for all babies born in the UK.

It's also available for people at high risk of the infection or complications from it.

This includes:

babies born to hepatitis B-infected mothers
close family and sexual partners of someone with hepatitis B
people travelling to a part of the world where hepatitis B is widespread, such as sub-Saharan Africa, east and southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands
families adopting or fostering children from high-risk countries
people who inject drugs or have a sexual partner who injects drugs
people who change their sexual partner frequently
men who have sex with men
male and female sex workers
people who work somewhere that places them at risk of contact with blood or body fluids, such as nurses, prison staff, doctors, dentists and laboratory staff
people with chronic liver disease
people with chronic kidney disease
prisoners
people who receive regular blood or blood products, and their carers
The hepatitis B vaccine is given to infants as part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule and those at high risk of developing the infection.

Outlook for hepatitis B
The vast majority of people infected with hepatitis B in adulthood are able to fight off the virus and fully recover within 1 to 3 months.

Most will then be immune to the infection for life.

Babies and children with hepatitis B are more likely to develop a chronic infection.

Chronic hepatitis B affects around:

90% of babies with hepatitis B
20% of older children with hepatitis B
5% of adults with hepatitis B
Although treatment can help, there's a risk that people with chronic hepatitis B could eventually develop life-threatening problems, such as scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or liver cancer.

Source: NHS , TDL

Type: Viral
Incubation period: Usually 9–180 days, average of 45–65 days
Sample site: Blood

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.

But with modern treatments, it's usually possible to cure the infection, and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.

It's estimated around 118,000 people in the UK had chronic hepatitis C in 2019.

You can become infected with it if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person.

Symptoms of hepatitis C
Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged.

This means many people have the infection without realising it.

When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition.

Symptoms can include:

flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature (fever)
feeling tired all the time
loss of appetite
stomach ache
feeling and being sick
The only way to know for certain if these symptoms are caused by hepatitis C is to get tested.

How do you get hepatitis C?
The hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact.

Some ways the infection can be spread include:

sharing unsterilised needles – particularly needles used to inject recreational drugs
sharing razors or toothbrushes
from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby
through unprotected sex – although this is very rare
In the UK, most hepatitis C infections happen in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past.

It's estimated around half of those who inject drugs have been infected with the virus.

Getting tested for hepatitis C
Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there's a risk you're infected, even if you do not have any symptoms.

A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.

GPs, sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics or drug treatment services all offer testing for hepatitis C.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, as well as help ensure the infection is not passed on to other people.

Treatments for hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be treated with medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. These usually need to be taken for several weeks.

Until recently, most people would have taken 2 main medicines called pegylated interferon (a weekly injection) and ribavirin (a capsule or tablet).

Tablet-only treatments are now available.

These new hepatitis C medicines have been found to make treatment more effective, are easier to tolerate, and have shorter treatment courses.

They include sofosbuvir and daclatasvir.

Using the latest medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.

But it's important to be aware that you will not be immune to the infection and should take steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected again.

Complications of hepatitis C
If the infection is left untreated for many years, some people with hepatitis C will develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).

Over time, this can cause the liver to stop working properly.

In severe cases, life-threatening problems, such as liver failure, where the liver loses most or all of its functions, or liver cancer, can eventually develop.

Treating hepatitis C as early as possible can help reduce the risk of these problems happening.

Preventing hepatitis C
There's no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there are ways to reduce your risk of becoming infected.

These include:

not sharing any drug-injecting equipment with other people – including needles and other equipment, such as syringes, spoons and filters
not sharing razors or toothbrushes that might be contaminated with blood
The risk of getting hepatitis C through sex is very low. But it may be higher if blood is present, such as menstrual blood or from minor bleeding during anal sex.

Condoms are not usually necessary to prevent hepatitis C for long-term heterosexual couples, but it's a good idea to use them when having anal sex or sex with a new partner.

Source: NHS , TDL


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