Sexual Transmitted Infections at Urgent Care Brisbane
Let’s take the case of ‘Josh,’ a patient who recently visited UCB with concerns about a possible STI. In the privacy of our clinic, Josh felt comfortable discussing his sexual history and undergoing testing. His situation provides a real-life example of how UCB approaches detecting and treating STIs.
Asymptomatic STI Checks and Sexual History
Many STIs can be asymptomatic, meaning you may not even know you have an infection. Regular STI checks, especially if you’re sexually active with multiple partners, can help detect these silent infections early. As part of the check, our healthcare professionals conduct a non-judgmental discussion about your sexual history to assess the risk and recommend appropriate tests.
When an STI is confirmed, contact tracing becomes vital to prevent the spread of the infection. UCB supports patients in this often challenging task by offering guidance and resources to help notify past sexual partners about the potential risk.
Types of STIs
Below, we discuss some of the most common STIs, their symptoms, and how they are treated at UCB. Below are detailed descriptions of some common STIs, their symptoms, investigations, treatments, contact tracing, test of cure, and potential complications
Symptoms: Anogenital warts appear as small, flesh-coloured bumps in the genital area and may cause discomfort, itching, or bleeding.
Investigations: A physical examination of the genital area is usually sufficient for diagnosis. In some cases, a biopsy may be required.
Treatment: Depending on the size and location, treatments can include topical medications, cryotherapy (freezing the warts), or surgical removal.
Contact Tracing: Current and previous sexual partners should be informed for potential testing and treatment.
Test of Cure: Follow-up appointments are necessary to ensure the warts have been fully treated and to monitor for recurrence.
Complications: If left untreated, warts can grow in size and number. In women, some strains of the virus that cause anogenital warts can lead to cervical cancer.
Symptoms: Most infected individuals have no symptoms. If present, they can include genital discharge, pain during urination, or lower abdominal pain.
Investigations: A urine test or a swab from the affected area is typically used for diagnosis.
Treatment: A course of antibiotics.
Contact Tracing: It’s important to inform all recent sexual partners so they can be tested and treated.
Test of Cure: A test is recommended 3-5 weeks after treatment to ensure the infection has cleared.
Complications: Untreated chlamydia can cause serious complications like pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to infertility.
Symptoms: Like chlamydia, gonorrhoea may cause genital discharge or pain during urination but can often be asymptomatic.
Investigations: Diagnosis is made through a urine test or swab from the affected area.
Treatment: Antibiotics are the primary treatment.
Contact Tracing: Informing recent sexual partners is essential for testing and treating the infection.
Test of Cure: A follow-up test is recommended one week after treatment to ensure the infection has cleared.
Complications: Untreated gonorrhoea can lead to serious health problems, including infertility in both men and women.
Symptoms: Many people infected with hepatitis A do not have symptoms. If they occur, they may include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Investigations: A simple blood test can determine if you have a hepatitis A infection.
Treatment: No specific treatment exists for hepatitis A. Your body will clear the infection on its own over time. Rest and adequate hydration are generally recommended.
Contact Tracing: Since Hepatitis A can be spread through direct contact, people close to the infected person should be informed and vaccinated if not previously done.
Test of Cure: Follow-up blood tests can confirm that the infection has cleared.
Complications: Most people recover fully from hepatitis A with no lasting liver damage. However, in rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure.
Symptoms: Many infected people show no symptoms, but others may experience fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, or joint pain.
Investigations: Hepatitis B is diagnosed through a blood test.
Treatment: Chronic hepatitis B is treated with antiviral medications. Acute hepatitis B, in contrast, does not typically require treatment as it tends to resolve on its own.
Contact Tracing: Sexual partners and household members of an infected individual should be informed, tested, and potentially vaccinated.
Test of Cure: Regular monitoring through blood tests is required to manage chronic hepatitis B.
Complications: If left untreated, chronic hepatitis B can lead to severe liver conditions, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Symptoms: Symptoms can resemble the flu or may not appear at all for several years. As the disease progresses without treatment, more severe symptoms such as rapid weight loss or recurrent pneumonia can develop.
Investigations: HIV is diagnosed through a blood or saliva test.
Treatment: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can manage the infection and prolong the life expectancy of HIV-positive individuals. Preventive measures like PrEP can also be employed to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
Contact Tracing: Anyone who has had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person should be informed and tested.
Test of Cure: Regular monitoring with blood tests is essential to manage HIV, even with no symptoms present.
Complications: Without treatment, HIV can progress to AIDS, severely impacting the immune system and potentially leading to fatal complications.
These descriptions should offer a comprehensive understanding of STIs. However, remember that this information does not replace a visit to Urgent Care Brisbane if you have symptoms or concerns. Your health is our priority, and our team of dedicated medical professionals is ready to help.
Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
Symptoms: LGV, caused by specific strains of chlamydia, may initially present with a painless ulcer or blister on the genitals. Later stages can involve painful swelling and inflammation in the groin.
Investigations: Diagnosis involves blood tests and special laboratory tests on a sample taken from the infected area.
Treatment: A prolonged course of antibiotics is required to treat LGV effectively.
Contact Tracing: Sexual partners within the last month should be informed, tested, and treated if necessary.
Test of Cure: Testing for a cure is necessary after treatment, and this is usually done through a follow-up examination and laboratory tests.
Complications: If untreated, LGV can cause long-term health problems, including lymphatic damage and rectal inflammation or scarring.
Symptoms: Mycoplasma genitalium often causes no symptoms but can cause inflammation of the urethra (urethritis), leading to symptoms such as discharge and pain during urination.
Investigations: Diagnosis is through a urine test or a swab from the affected area.
Treatment: Antibiotics are used to treat this infection, but resistance is growing to some medications.
Contact Tracing: All recent sexual partners should be informed, tested, and treated to avoid reinfection.
Test of Cure: A follow-up test is usually recommended to ensure the infection has cleared, especially due to the potential for antibiotic resistance.
Complications: If untreated, Mycoplasma genitalium can potentially cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and may be associated with infertility.
Symptoms: Syphilis progresses in stages, with early symptoms including painless sores or rashes. Later stages can involve more systemic symptoms, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
Investigations: Syphilis can be detected using a blood test or a sample taken from a sore.
Treatment: Early-stage syphilis can be effectively treated with a single injection of penicillin, with more advanced stages requiring additional doses.
Contact Tracing: All sexual partners from the last three months should be informed and tested, due to the potential serious complications of untreated syphilis.
Test of Cure: Follow-up blood tests are required to ensure that the treatment has been successful.
Complications: If untreated, syphilis can lead to severe heart problems, neurological problems, and even death.
At Urgent Care Brisbane, we provide comprehensive and compassionate care for patients with STIs. With the help of our experienced doctors and nurses, we can ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment.
Symptoms: Trichomoniasis, an infection caused by a parasite, often presents with itching or irritation in the genital area, discomfort during sex, and a change in vaginal discharge in women. Men typically do not have symptoms.
Investigations: Diagnosis involves a physical examination and laboratory testing of a sample from the vagina or urethra.
Treatment: Trichomoniasis can be treated effectively with prescribed oral medication.
Contact Tracing: As with other STIs, all recent sexual partners should be informed, tested, and treated to prevent reinfection.
Test of Cure: A follow-up test is usually recommended to ensure the infection has cleared.
Complications: If untreated, trichomoniasis can increase a person’s risk of getting or spreading other STIs.
Infections Associated with Sex
Apart from STIs, there are other infections that can be associated with sexual activity, such as Bacterial Vaginosis, Candidiasis, and Hepatitis C. These conditions can cause uncomfortable symptoms and may need medical treatment.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV): This condition occurs when there’s an imbalance in the normal bacteria found in women’s vagina. Symptoms may include a thin, grey vaginal discharge and a fishy odour. BV is treated with antibiotics.
Candidiasis: More commonly known as a yeast infection, candidiasis can cause itching, irritation, and a thick, white vaginal discharge. Antifungal medications can effectively treat the condition.
Hepatitis C: This is a viral infection that affects the liver. It is primarily transmitted through blood-to-blood contact but can also be transmitted through sexual activity. Antiviral medications can treat hepatitis C, but early diagnosis is crucial.
Prep for HIV
For individuals who are at high risk of contracting HIV, UCB offers Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – a preventive measure involving daily medication to reduce their risk.
Please note that while our descriptions are detailed, they can’t substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any symptoms or concerns, don’t hesitate to visit UCB.
At Urgent Care Brisbane, we strive to manage your sexual health with utmost care and discretion. From initial consultation and testing to contact tracing and treatment, we aim to provide a comprehensive and non-judgmental service. If you suspect you may have an STI or wish to discuss prevention methods, book an appointment with us today.
In the case of Josh, his concerns were met with understanding and professional medical guidance. He underwent the necessary tests and received his results promptly. When Josh tested positive for Chlamydia, he was understandably nervous. However, our team at UCB were swift to provide him with the necessary antibiotic treatment and reassured him that he’d recover fully with proper care. Additionally, we offered advice on contacting his previous partners, an essential step in preventing further spread of the infection.
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