Sexually transmitted infections – STIs – are unfortunately very common and can affect anyone.

Here you can find more information on some of the most common, their symptoms and how to treat them – including HIV.


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and one of the UK’s most common STIs.

It is spread through unprotected sex and is particularly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults.

Things to know:

  • Chlamydia can be symptomless for some
  • For others it can cause pain, discharge and lead to complications
  • Chlymydia is typically easily treated with antibiotics




Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection transmitted through unprotected sex.

It can infect the urethra (the tube which passes urine), the womb, the rectum and be passed to the throat or eyes.

Things to know:

  • The most common symptom is a thick green or yellow discharge from the penis or vagina
  • However, around 10% of men and 50% of women do not have symptoms
  • Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection



Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus spread through bodily fluids which potentially causes serious infection of the liver.

It can disappear, lay dormant or create life-long illness.

Things to know:

  • Symptoms typically develop 2-3 months after infection
  • They may include flu-like symptoms, jaundice (yellow skin) and stomach pain
  • Treatment depends on the length and severity of infection


Herpes causes blisters around the genitals which can clear up, but often return.

It’s important to keep the area clean.

Things to know:

  • Unfortunately, herpes does not have a cure
  • Outbreaks can return regularly but often become milder
  • Antiviral treatment may be offered to those severely affected


Mycoplasma genitalium (Mgen) is a type of bacteria which can cause an STI.

A recent study showed it could be as widespread as 1 in 100 people.

Things to know:

  • Common symptoms include clear discharge, pain when peeing and a raised temperature
  • Often a minor or symptomless illness, it can also cause serious long-term issues
  • It can be harder to treat than other bacterial STIs and requires specialist antibiotics


Syphilis is a bacterial infection typically caught through unprotected sex.

Early symptoms are ulcers, a rash or small skin growths around the genitals.

Things to know:

  • Syphilis can disappear or lay dormant for many years
  • Serious infection can spread to the brain
  • Syphilis is treated with an injection or course of antibiotics




Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite which is commonly transmitted during sex.

Half of all carriers will not develop symptoms but may still pass it on.

Things to know:

  • Symptoms are similar to many other STIs and difficult to diagnose
  • They include discharge, soreness, swelling and pain from the genitals
  • Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics


Genital warts are small fleshy growths around the genitals or anal area.

Symptoms often include itching, bleeding or a change in the flow of urine.

Things to know:

  • Genital warts can be passed on even if they are not visible
  • Treatment varies from applying creams to removing the warts with surgery or freezing
  • Genital warts can disappear themselves or return after long periods


HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus – damages the human immune system and weakens the ability to fight infection.

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – is a life-threatening illness which can develop from HIV.

Things to know:

  • Early symptoms of HIV include a short flu-like illness
  • Unfortunately, HIV is not curable but is treatable
  • However, with early diagnosis, many people with HIV can avoid developing AIDs



Call Us

Need to talk? Call our helpline on 0300 003 1212

Our Latest News