When it comes to STIs, most people just think about the ones they were taught about in school or college, but new STIs appear all of the time. Here are four fairly new bacterial infections that could create a public health threat if they become more common.
Neisseria meningitides is an STI that can lead to meningitis, which is a potentially fatal brain infection. This infection is very serious, but thankfully there is a vaccine for it.
Shigellosis is an STI that is caught through direct contact with faeces. The infection can cause stomach pain and diarrhoea.
If you are worried that you may have an STI and you want to order Bexley home STI kits, head to bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits to find out more.
Mycoplasma genitalium is one of the smallest types of bacteria on record, but it can cause some serious damage. The bacteria was first identified in the 1980s, and around one to 20 per cent of people carry it. Over time it can cause non-gonococcal urethritis as well as several inflammatory reproductive tract syndromes (such as pelvic inflammatory disease).
This sexually transmitted infection is caused by certain types of Chlamydia trachomatis, and it can result in a very unpleasant infection. The infection normally starts with an ulcer, blister or pimple on the genitals, which will then start to infect the lymphatic system. If the infection is rectal, it could also cause inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause other bowel problems (such as structures or fistulas). It can also increase the risk of HIV, which is a very serious issue.
The infection is most frequently found in gay and bisexual men, and it is most common in North America and Europe (including the UK).
These sexually transmitted infections may seem scary, but they can all be treated (or prevented) using vaccines and antibiotics. However, it is important to make sure that you get tested regularly, especially if you are having sex without protection (or if you are sleeping with multiple people). This is because infections can get worse over time.
It is also important to practise safe sex with a condom if you want to reduce your chances of catching an STI. This is because other forms of contraception (such as the pill) do not prevent STIs.