Looking after your sexual health

As with all aspects of our health and wellbeing, sexual health is incredibly important. But a sense of stigma often means that people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about or seeking sexual health advice and treatment.


Sexual health week, which runs from 12th to 18th September this year, aims to raise awareness about the importance of sexual health and safe sex.


Left untreated, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to long-term health problems so it’s important to get tested if you have had unprotected sex.


So, what are some of the most common STIs and what impact can they have on your health?

Tracking down a dependable sexual health blood testing facility in London can be difficult and, with GP waiting times often making booking an appointment difficult, getting that all important peace of mind can be a frustrating process.

A London based private testing service for STIs

Efficient and gentle, I barely noticed the process and before I knew it, the samples were collected for my blood draw.

What are the common STIs you’re most at risk of catching?


There are many different sexually transmitted infections circulating in the population which you could be at risk of catching if you do not use protection. Some of these infections are more serious than others and can lead to long-term health complications if not caught early and treated properly.


Some of the most common sexually transmitted infections include:

 

Chlamydia

 

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.


In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In men, in rare cases, chlamydia can spread to the testicles causing them to become painful and swollen.

 

Gonorrhoea


Gonorrhoea, which used to be known as “the clap”, is caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. These bacteria are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid and are passed on through unprotected sex.


Hepatitis


Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. It's usually the result of a viral infection or liver damage caused by drinking alcohol. There are several different types of hepatitis, including:


Hepatitis A


Caused by the hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis A is usually caught by consuming food and drink contaminated with the faeces of an infected person and is most common in countries where sanitation is poor.


Hepatitis A usually passes within a few months, although it can occasionally be severe and even life threatening. There's no specific treatment for it, other than to relieve symptoms like pain, nausea and itching.


Hepatitis B


Most adults infected with hepatitis B fully recover from the infection within a couple of months. But most people infected as children develop a long-term infection known as chronic hepatitis B which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.


Hepatitis C


Caused by the hepatitis C virus, hepatitis C is the most common type of viral hepatitis in the UK. It's usually spread through blood-to-blood contact with an infected person.


Hepatitis C often causes no noticeable symptoms, or only flu-like symptoms, making it harder to spot initially. Around 1 in 4 people will fight off the infection and be free of the virus. But in the remaining cases, it can stay in the body for many years.


Hepatitis D


Caused by the hepatitis D virus, hepatitis D only affects people who are already infected with hepatitis B, as it needs the hepatitis B virus to be able to survive in the body.


Hepatitis E


Hepatitis E, caused by the hepatitis E virus, is now the most common cause of short-term hepatitis in the UK. It’s generally a mild infection that does not require any treatment, but it can be serious in people with a weakened immune system.


HIV


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


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


AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another, but the HIV virus can. HIV is found in the bodily fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. The most common way of contracting HIV in the UK is through unprotected sex.


Herpes

 

Genital herpes is an STI passed on through unprotected sex. Symptoms, such as sores and painful urination, can clear up on their own but can also flare up in the future.

 

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that's usually passed on through unprotected sex. While syphilis can be treated with a short course of antibiotics, you can go on to catch it more than once, even if you have been treated for it before. If left untreated for years, syphilis can spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious long-term problems


A London based private testing service for STIs 


If you’re worried that you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you want answers as quickly as possible so that you can seek the right treatment.


Tracking down a dependable sexual health blood testing facility in London can be difficult and, with GP waiting times often making booking an appointment difficult, getting that all important peace of mind can be a frustrating process.


Thankfully, there are other options to give you the answers you need, fast. Private blood testing is becoming a popular solution for a whole range of medical and diagnostic checks, for people who want quick access to important information about their health and wellbeing. And with our central London walk-in clinic, getting that information is easy.


At Blue Horizon we offer a comprehensive range of blood testing options for sexually transmitted infections, both standalone, and as part of a larger profile of diagnostic checks to help you get a complete picture of your health.  


These tests include diagnostic checks for:


  • Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E
  • HIV
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes

 

Booking your private sexual health test in London

 

We make sure the experience of booking a private sexual health blood test is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. Here’s how it works:


After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team.


Once your order is placed, you can attend our central London walk-in clinic to have your blood taken by one of our expert phlebotomists. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals.


At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your blood draw.

 

Clear, accurate results for fast peace of mind


The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can be arranged for you.


You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.


 Find out more and book your private sexual health test