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Common Conditions 

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common yet poorly understood condition in which the balance of bacteria inside the vagina becomes disrupted. Around one in three women will experience at least once episode of BV at some point.This imbalance often triggers a change to the usual vaginal discharge, which results in a fishy smelling, greyish discharge from the vagina. However, half of women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, there is no need to get tested or be treated as bacterial vaginosis without symptoms is quite harmless.


Balanitis is swelling of the head of the penis. The foreskin (the loose flap of skin that covers the head of the penis) is also often affected. Balanitis is a common condition that can affect both boys and men, although it happens more often in men who have not been circumcised. Balanitis is not normally serious and can usually be prevented with good hygiene.


Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK. Most people who have chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms and won’t know they have the infection. If you do have symptoms these may include pain when you urinate, unusual discharge and, in women, bleeding between periods or after sex.Chlamydia is easily diagnosed with a urine test or a swab of the affected area and can be treated with antibiotics. If left undiagnosed or untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious long-term health problems.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a long-term condition caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). After you have become infected, the virus remains dormant (inactive) for most of the time. There are often few or no initial symptoms. However, certain triggers can activate the virus, causing outbreaks of painful blisters on your genitals and the surrounding areas. There's no cure for genital herpes, but the symptoms can usually be effectively controlled using antiviral medicines.

Genital warts

Genital warts are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around your genital or anal area. They are the result of a viral skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).You don't need to have penetrative sex to pass the infection on because HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact.Treatments available include creams and freezing the warts.


Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI that can cause an unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus, and pain when urinating. Some people experience no symptoms.Gonorrhoea can be diagnosed easily by taking a swab test and treated with antibiotics. If left undiagnosed or untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious long-term health problems.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a type of virus that can infect the liver. It can be spread through blood and body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids, so it can be caught during unprotected sex, including anal and oral sex and by sharing needles to inject drugs. A mother can also pass on the hepatitis B infection to her newborn baby, but if the baby is vaccinated immediately after birth the infection can be prevented.Many people don’t realise they have been infected with the virus, because the symptoms may not develop immediately, or even at all. Symptoms can include feeling sick, being sick, lack of appetite, flu-like symptoms (such as tiredness, general aches and pains), headaches and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). There is currently no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B, other than using painkillers to relieve symptoms. Chronic hepatitis B can be treated using a combination of antiviral medications designed to slow the spread of the virus and prevent damage to the liver.A vaccination is available to protect high risk people from Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect and damage the liver. You can become infected if you come into contact with the blood or, less commonly, body fluids of an infected person. In most cases, Hepatitis C causes no noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. Symptoms that can occur are often vague and can be easily mistaken for another condition. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature and loss of appetite, feeling tired all the time and depression. Because of this, many people remain unaware that they are infected by hepatitis C.Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medicines that are designed to stop the virus from multiplying inside the body and prevent liver damage.


HIV is a virus most commonly caught by having unprotected sex or sharing infected needles to inject drugs. HIV weakens your immune system and your ability to fight infections and cancer. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. There's no cure for HIV but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

Molluscum ContagiosumMolluscum Contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection that affects the skin. It is highly contagious and easily spread. It most commonly affects children and young adults, although it can occur at any age.Usually, the only symptom is a number of small, firm, raised papules (spots) that develop on the skin. They are not painful but may be itchy.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice ('crabs') are tiny blood-sucking insects that live in coarse human body hair, most commonly pubic hair. They cause itching and red spots. They can usually be successfully treated with insecticide medicines available over the counter in most pharmacies, or from a GP or GUM clinic.


Scabies is a contagious skin condition in which the main symptom is intense itching. It's caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin. It isn't only spread through sexual contact, but also through skin-to-skin contact for long periods of time with someone who is infected.It's treated with cream containing insecticides, which kills the scabies mite. Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that causes a painless but very infectious sore either on your genitals around the mouth. The sore lasts two to six weeks before it disappears. Secondary symptoms, such as a skin rash and sore throat, then develop. These usually disappear within a few weeks, after which you will then be symptom free for a period of time.If diagnosed early, syphilis can be treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections. But if it is left to progress untreated, syphilis can cause serious conditions such as stroke, paralysis, blindness or even death.


Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas Vaginalis.Women may have soreness and itching around the vagina and a change in vaginal discharge. Men may experience pain after urination and ejaculation.Most men and women are treated with antibiotics, which is very effective.

Vaginal Thrush

Most women experience occasional bouts of thrush. It causes itching, irritation and swelling of the vagina and surrounding area, sometimes with a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge.Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless but it can be uncomfortable and it can keep coming back, which is known as recurrent thrush. It can be easily treated with over the counter medications.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website

Page Last Updated: 03/07/2014 11:11 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website