Itchy Testicles – Is it a sign of STDs?

It is common to experience a need to itch every now and then, but if you feel the need to scratch all the time it’s probably time to seek some help. Inadvertently, there would be a concern of any possible sexually transmitted diseases (STD), but not all itches are sexually transmitted. – STD Screening in Singapore

Listed below are some of the more common causes of itchy testicles.


  1. Chafing

Chafing is an irritation of the skin caused by repetitive friction. This is typically caused by inappropriately sized clothing and is commonly experienced by guys doing biking or running. It can happen anywhere on the skin but vulnerable areas are the groin, thighs, underarms and even the nipples. Chafing is easy to prevent though, by wearing the right clothes and using some form of barrier cream/ointment like vaseline to protect vulnerable areas.

  1. Jock Itch

Jock Itch, also known as tinea cruris, this is a fairly common condition seen in gentlemen who exercise a lot or are involved in jobs involving heavy physical activity. This creates a warm, moist environment on the scrotum that is ideal for fungal growth. Common symptoms are an itchy and red rash on the scrotum that can be scaly in nature. Treatment is through the use of oral or topical antifungal medications. Jock Itch can be prevented by regular change of clothing after heavy exertion as well as use of antiperspirants.

  1. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema triggered by contact with a particular substance. The skin can become red and cracked with blistering and sometimes can resemble jock itch. Common causes of contact dermatitis are new soaps and detergents, so if the new soap/detergent is causing itchy testicles, it might be a good idea to swab back.

  1. Lichen Simplex Chronicus

This is what happens when you leave an itch too long without seeing a doctor. After prolonged itchy, rubbing and scratching of the skin, the scrotum can become lichenified. Like lichen on the trees, the skin can become thick and scaly with accentuated skin fold lines. This is an extremely pruritic chronic itch, and the treatment is usually the use of a strong steroid cream to thin out the lichenified skin. 

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an unpleasant skin condition presenting as reddish rashes with silvery scaling over the whole body. It commonly involves the scrotum and it can be itchy as well. There are also other dermatological conditions which may look similar to psoriasis and can involve the scrotum as well. This is why it is important to see a doctor if there is an odd looking rash over the scrotum that does not go away on its own. 

  1. Pubic Lice

Also known as crabs, Pthirus pubis is a very small insect that parasites humans. Pubic Lice are commonly found attached to the hair in the pubic region but can also be found in other coarse hair elsewhere on the body, for example eyebrows or armpits. Other than the adult insects, eggs known as “nits” can also be found attached to the hair. Pubic lice is normally spread through sexual contact. It is however very easily treatable by over the counter anti-louse preparations. 

  1. Scabies

Sarcoptes scabiei are tiny eight legged mites that live within the human skin. Allergic reaction to the mites, eggs and faeces can lead to an intense itching that is worse at night. Symptoms are a pimple like rash over the scrotum that can be very itchy out of proportion to the rash. Scabies is spread through skin to skin contact and hence can be sexually transmitted. It’s treated with an anti-mite topical preparation known as permethrin. 


The astute reader might realise that not a lot of STDs are found on the above list. The truth is that the majority of STDs do not lead to testicular itching but rather other symptoms like ulcers or discharge. If itchy testicles are still a problem, it is still better to seek a doctor for a medical consultation.

Ureaplasma Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Ureaplasma

Ureaplasma are a group of tiny bacteria that can commonly be found in the urinary and genital tracts of men and women. The most clinically relevant type of Ureaplasma species is Ureaplasma Urealyticum, which can cause urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) in men, and bacterial vaginosis in women.

These infections may have few or no symptoms at all for many people, and may only get picked up on routine STD screening or when an individual presents with symptoms from another infection such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. For those who develop symptoms directly from a Ureaplasma infection, common presentations would be with pain or burning on passing urine, penile discharge or vaginal discharge, or pelvic/genital discomfort. As their name suggests, these bacteria also hydrolyse urea to produce ammonia, which can result in a strong or unpleasant odour as well.

How is Ureaplasma transmitted?

Ureaplasma is predominantly transmitted through sexual contact (vaginal, anal, and oral sex). However, it is not typically classified as an STD due to its relatively low degree of pathogenicity (ability to cause disease). Although many infections may be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, there are still risks for complications including pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymo-orchitis. Studies have also found associations with complications in pregnancy such as preterm labour, as well as infertility in both men and women. As Ureaplasma infection can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane, it can also increase the risk of transmission of other STDs and is commonly found to cause co-infections. 

Testing for Ureaplasma can be done with urine samples or swab tests, and would generally be detected through special cultures or through PCR testing. It would not be detected through a normal bacterial culture for non-STD infections. Treatment of Ureaplasma would generally be a course of oral antibiotics and of course, partner testing and treatment would be recommended as well. STD Testing in Singapore


Next read: 10 things you didn’t know about this STD: Mycoplasma Genitalium

7 Common Causes Of Anal Itching

Anal itching, also known as pruritus ani, is a common condition. Some studies have shown that it can affect as much as 1-5% of the population.The reason why cases of anal itching are not always relieved with scratching is because of a self-propagating itch-scratch cycle: the scratching exacerbates the inflammation, causing an irresistible urge to scratch even more.There are many causes of anal itching.

Here are 7 broad groups of conditions that can present with anal itch.


1. Dermatologic conditions

Topical irritants such as Deodorants, Detergent/fabric softener, Hemorrhoid remedies, Soaps, Suppositories, Talcum powder, Tight clothing and Toilet paper dyes and perfumes can cause Irritant dermatitis leading to itching. Atopic dermatitis, Hidradenitis suppurativa, Lichen planus, Lichen sclerosis, Psoriasis and Seborrheic dermatitis are all conditions that can cause anal itch.

2. Dietary irritants

Certain types of foods, when ingested, can become dietary irritants when passed out from the other end. They include foods such as Beer, Caffeine, Chili peppers, Citrus foods, Milk and Tomatoes.

3. Anal conditions

Such as Anal fissures, Chronic constipation, Chronic diarrhoea, Fistula, Incontinence, Prolapsed haemorrhoids, Rectal prolapse, Irritable bowel syndrome, Inflammatory bowel conditions and Skin tags.

4. Infections

Abscesses, Candidal infections (intertrigo), Corynebacterium minutissimum (erythrasma), Molluscum contagiosum, Parasites (e.g., pinworms, scabies), Staphylococcus aureus infections can cause anal itch.A big group of infections are sexually transmitted infections. These infections have to be considered especially in people who partake in anal intercourse.Some of the infections include Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes and Human papillomavirus to name a few.

5. Malignancies/Cancers

Such as Bowen disease, Extramammary Paget disease, Squamous cell carcinoma can present with itch.

6. Medications

Such as Chemotherapy, Colchicine, Neomycin and Quinidine can trigger itch too.

7. Systemic diseases

Aplastic anaemia, Diabetes mellitus, Inflammatory bowel disease, Jaundice, Leukemia, Lymphoma and Thyroid disease can have anal itch as a symptom. In many instances, we may not actually identify any specific cause and label the itch as idiopathic pruritus ani. The itch could also be due to psychological disorders.While many people worry that anal itch is due to a sexually transmitted infection, as you can see above, there are so many reasons why a person may develop an anal itch.

Diagnosis

The most important thing is to seek medical attention so your doctor can assess you and come to a diagnosis.The doctor will take a detailed medical history from you and do a physical examination, including an examination of your perineal area and possibly do a proctoscopy. If need be, we may do some swabs to send off for investigation. The doctor may advise for further investigations such as a colonoscopy depending on what is found and your age group.

Treatment & Prevention

Treatment of pruritus ani should address the underlying cause. The goal of treatment is also to prevent further irritation and moisture in the affected area and avoiding scratching. Patients should be aware of proper hygiene and avoidance of perfumes, dyes, dietary irritants (especially caffeine), and tight clothing.Patients should also keep the area dry and be aware of the itch-scratch cycle. A sedating antihistamine can reduce scratching during sleep. If the itch is very bad, wear cotton gloves or socks on the hands at night to prevent scratching. Patients with hemorrhoidal skin tags that make hygiene difficult can clean the area using a handheld showerhead, squirt bottle, sitz bath, or a bidet. After which, pat the area dry or use a hairdryer set on “cool.” Avoid using soap on the anal area as the skin there is sensitive and can dry out easily. Do not scrub the perineal area with anything including toilet paper.Besides the conservative measures above, low-potency topical steroids can be used for a short duration of time. If the itch persists after treatment, a biopsy can be considered.If you wish to speak to our doctors about the following symptoms, please call us or email us for an appointment at hello@dtapclinic.com

10 Things about HPV (Video)

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts.

 Here are 10 things about HPV.

1. HPV is incredibly common.

and It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people will get HPV at some point in their lifetime


2. Next… How is HPV spread?

HPV is one of the most common STI and is spread through genital or skin-to-skin contact. The virus can be spread even when no symptoms are evident.


3. The third point is that HPV doesn’t necessarily stay with you forever.

Patients commonly assume that HPV is a lifelong infection that will stay with them always. Most HPV infections clear up on their own and do not cause any problems. However, overtime persistent infection by certain HPV types can cause cancer and other diseases such as warts.


4. There are many strains of the virus.

HPV is not just one virus, but consists of over hundreds straina . Each virus is labeled with a number to distinguish it from the others, and different viruses can target different areas of the body, causing differentdiseases in humans.

HPV is most commonly associated with a risk for certain cancers, including cervical cancer, or oral cancers which involves, the base of the tongue or tonsils. 


5. Next in Cervical cancer

HPV causes more than 99% of cervical cancer cases and Approximately 400 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Singapore.  

Cervical cancer ranks* as the 8th leading cause of female cancer in Singapore.


6. In Detection of HPV

A pap smear test is a cervical cancer screening tool that is commonly use to detect cervical cancer or pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.

A more sensitive test like the HPV DNA test can be used to detect certain high risk strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer


7. HPV in Men

Men can get HPV and pass it to their partners. HPV has been shown to increase the risk of anal cancer, penile cancer , oral and throat cancers in men.


8. There Is Also a Vaccine that Can Protect You

The HPV vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in protecting people against cervical cancer and warts..

Individuals already infected with HPV should still get vaccinated because the vaccine may protect against additional strains of hpv. However, for maximum benefit, vaccination should occur before an individual becomes exposed to the virus.

Thus it is recommended for preteens to get the vaccine at an early age.

Recently the US Food and Drug Administration expanded its approval of the HPV vaccine to include men and women up to 45 years old As an effort to protect more people from several types of cancer caused by HPV.


9. After HPV Vaccination…

Women should continue to get regular Pap screenings because the vaccine though reduces risk of cervical cancer, does not protect against all HPV types.


10. To Sum Up HPV

The best thing you can do is stay proactive and look after your well-being.

“HPV is something both women and men should be aware and well-informed about, protecting yourself and your loved ones,”

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CD4 Count VS Viral Load – What do you need to know?

The Immune system is made up of a large network of cells that work together to combat infections. Helper T Lymphocytes are a particular type of immune cell that expresses a molecule called the Cluster Determinant 4 (CD4). Helper T lymphocytes are hence commonly known as CD4 cells. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) selectively targets CD 4 cells and uses them as hosts for viral replication. As the virus replicates, it destroys its host cell as it releases new copies of the virus. Therefore, as the viral load (which is a measure of the amount of virus present in the body) increases and the host CD 4 cells will decrease. 

HIV Pro Viral DNA Test

HIV Infection

During the early stages of a HIV infection, viral replication occurs at a very fast rate at the expense of CD 4 host cells. A vicious cycle occurs, wherein an increase in HIV viral load attracts more CD4 cells which get infected and become hosts to further increase the viral load. Within the first few weeks of a HIV infection, the CD 4 count falls precipitously. Such a sharp fall in CD4 cells is the hallmark of a HIV infection. 

Upon diagnosis of HIV, it is crucial that the patient’s CD 4 and viral load are measured. The CD 4 count allows the medical team to determine the state of the immune system and plan the appropriate treatment. If the CD 4 count is below 200 units, the diagnosis of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is established. AIDS is a serious complication of HIV infection and can be fatal, therefore, if the patient is diagnosed with AIDS he/she requires immediate medical attention in a hospital.The viral load will give an indication of how fast the virus is replicating. Current medication used to treat HIV infection targets different parts of  viral replication and interfere in the process of new viruses being produced. Therefore, a fall in viral load after commencing medication is an indicator that the medication is working. 

People Living With HIV

For People Living with HIV (PLHIV), the main goal of therapy is to increase CD4 cell numbers and decrease the viral load to an undetectable level. Monitoring these 2 parameters will guide the treatment regime. In general viral load is measured 2 weeks after starting medications for HIV, then at 4 to 8 week intervals. The expected fall in viral load should be to approximately < 500 copies/ml by week 8 – 16 and < 50 copies /ml by week 16- 24. CD 4 recovery is slower, the first CD4 test is done 3 months after commencing treatment and every 6 months after. In general, a CD 4 count > 300 cell/uL with a low viral load is a good level to ensure that PLHIV does not encounter any opportunistic infections.

Also read: U=U: Science, Not Stigma

CD 4 and Viral load measurements are essential parameters in guiding the medical therapy for PLHIV. Regular check of these parameters ensure that PLHIV are able to maintain an active lifestyle and avoid any infections that may occur due to a lowered immunity.

HIV Screening Singapore


Bagaimana jangkitan HPV dan masalah kesihatan yang disebabkan olehnya boleh dicegah?

Apakah itu human papillomavirus (HPV)?

HPV adalah virus yang boleh menyebabkan penyakit kelamin (sexually transmitted disease, STD) dan adalah penyakit STD yang paling kerap berlaku di dunia. Jangkitan HPV dianggarkan berlaku di kalangan sekurang-kurangnya 80 peratus wanita dan lelaki yang telah bermula hubungan seks.  

Apakah gejala atau simptom jangkitan HPV?

Kebanyakan orang yang dijangkiti HPV tidak mempunyai apa-apa gejala kerana sistem ketahanan (imun) badan dapat menyingkirkan virus HPV sebelum apa-apa gejala berlaku.

Walaubagaimanapun, bagi individu yang mempunyai simptom, ketuat (genital warts) boleh dilihat di kawasan alat kelamin. Ketuat juga boleh dilihat di kulit (non genital warts) kerana HPV disebarkan antara kulit. Ketuat kebanyakkanya disebabkan oleh HPV jenis 6 dan 11. HPV jenis berisiko tinggi (high risk strains) boleh menyebabkan penyakit barah di cervix, dubur (anus), vulva dan faraj, zakar dan juga dalam mulut dan tekak (oropharyngeal).  

Bagi penyakit barah cervix peringkat awal, simptom-simptom adalah lelehan faraj berdarah di luar masa haid, selepas menopaus atau selepas hubungan seks. Lelehan faraj yang mungkin berbau juga adalah antara simptom barah cervix.

Bagaimana seseorang boleh dijangkiti HPV?

HPV adalah virus yang boleh dijangkiti melalui sentuhan kulit, melalui hubungan seks (sama ada melalui vagina, oral, zakar atau lubang dubur) atau melalui sentuhan kawasan genital (alat kelamin). Individu tidak boleh dijangkiti HPV melalui sentuhan objek contohnya tempat duduk tandas. 

Disebabkan virus ini boleh dijangkiti melalui hubungan seks, jika individu mempunyai beberapa pasangan seksual, risikonya ditingkatkan. Tambahan pula, kondom hanya memberi perlindungan yang tidak sepenuhnya. Pengisapan rokok juga boleh meningkatkan risiko jangkitan HPV sebanyak 4 kali ganda, bersama juga jika individu mengambil ubat yang melemahkan sistem imun atau mempunyai penyakit yang melemahkan sistem imun. 

Apakah komplikasi penyakit jangkitan HPV?

Seperti dijelaskan di atas, HPV boleh menyebabkan penyakit barah di cervix, vulva, faraj, zakar atau lubang dubur. Ia juga boleh menyebabkan barah tekak, lidah dan tonsil. 

Jenis HPV yang menyebabkan penyakit ketuat tidak sama dengan jenis HPV yang menyebabkan barah. Penyakit barah yang disebabkan oleh HPV selalunya mengambil jangka beberapa tahun untuk berlaku.

Bagaimana jangkitan HPV dan masalah kesihatan yang disebabkan olehnya boleh dicegah? Apakah rawatan penyakit jangkitan HPV?

Vaksin terhadap HPV adalah sangat digalakkan. Vaksin HPV adalah selamat dan berkesan. Keberkesanan vaksin ini adalah setinggi 97% di kalangan individu yang tidak pernah dijangkiti HPV. Vaksin juga bermanfaat jika penerima sudah dijangkiti HPV. 

Jika individu menghidap barah yang disebabkan oleh HPV, rawatan yang diberikan termasuk pembedahan, kemoterapi dan radioterapi.

STDs: Apakah Simtom HIV Dan STD?


Doktor yang boleh berbahasa melayu


Dr. Taufiq at DTAP Clinic @ Somerset

1 Grange Rd,
#10-08 Orchard Building,
Singapore 239693

Telepon: +65 6262 0762

Dr. Ezlyn at DTAP Clinic @ DUO Galleria

7 Fraser St,
#B3-18 DUO Galleria (Bugis MRT), 
Singapore 189356

Telepon: +65 6976 5023

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is one of the most common STIs worldwide, and likewise here in Singapore. According to the latest statistics provided by the Department of STI Control (DSC) Clinic, there were officially 2,719 newly diagnosed cases of Chlamydia reported in 2018.

It is well known that Chlamydia affects the genito-urinary system, with the typical symptoms being painful urination, increased urinary frequency or urgency, penile or vaginal discharge, testicular pain or swelling in men, and painful sex or bleeding after sex in women. You may also be aware that Chlamydia can sometimes be completely asymptomatic. However, what most people may not know is that Chlamydia can affect other parts of the body as well, namely the eyes, rectum, throat and joints.

In this article, we will focus on Chlamydia eye infection, also known as Chlamydia Conjunctivitis. You can read more about Chlamydia as an overall topic in a previous article:


What is Chlamydia Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva helps to lubricate the eye by producing mucus and tears, and prevents the entry of microbes into the eye. The various causes of conjunctivitis include viral or bacterial infections, allergies, chemical irritation and foreign objects. Therefore Chlamydia Conjunctivitis refers to conjunctivitis resulting from a Chlamydia infection.

How does Chlamydia Conjunctivitis occur?

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is directly spread from the bacteria entering the eyes. This usually happens from touching or rubbing your eyes after touching your genitals (if you have Chlamydia) or those of an infected partner. It is also possible to get infected from sharing towels, eye makeup or cosmetics that contain the bacteria.

Signs and symptoms

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis can present acutely, but more commonly patients have mild symptoms for weeks to months. The majority of cases affect only one eye, and vision is usually unaffected.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy, swollen or scratchy eyes
  • Mucous, sticky discharge
  • Tearing
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusting and sticking of eyelids
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Enlarged lymph nodes behind the ears

How to tell the difference between Chlamydia Conjunctivitis and other forms of conjunctivitis?

As Chlamydia Conjunctivitis presents very similarly to viral and other bacterial conjunctivitis, it is not possible to tell the difference based on eye signs and symptoms alone. For this reason, many patients may have been previously treated, or self-medicated, with various types of eye drops without symptomatic relief. A diagnosis of Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is usually suspected if close questioning reveals genito-urinary symptoms, or if the sexual partners of these patients have similar eye symptoms.

Who is at risk?

Chlamydia can affect anyone who is sexually active, both males and females alike, regardless of sexual preference or orientation. Young people may be at higher risk for various reasons, including practices like inconsistent condom usage.

Diagnosis

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is usually diagnosed based on history and examination of the eye. If necessary, a swab test of the conjunctiva can be performed. Your doctor may advise you to test for other STIs as well.

STD Screening Singapore | Rapid STD Test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea PCR

Treatment for Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

If left untreated, Chlamydia Conjunctivitis resolves spontaneously in 6 to 18 months, but most individuals would seek treatment due to the severity of the symptoms. Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is treated with topical antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin and fluoroquinolones, but due to the high probability of concomitant genital tract infection, oral antibiotic therapy is recommended. Sexual partners of the patients should be contacted, evaluated and treated.

Prevention

  • Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching or rubbing your eyes unless your hands are clean
  • Do not share eye makeup or cosmetics with anyone
  • Refrain from sharing towels, washcloths, pillows, or sheets with anyone. If one of your eyes is affected but not the other, use a separate towel for each eye
  • Observe safe sexual practices including consistent and correct usage of condoms, reducing your number of partners or being in a mutually monogamous relationship where you are aware of your partner’s sexual health status
  • Regular STI screening helps you remain aware of your own sexual health status

Neonatal Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

Although relatively harmless in adults, Chlamydia Conjunctivitis can have severe health consequences in children. Infection is acquired from an infected mother during vaginal delivery, from exposure to the bacteria in the birth canal. Chlamydia Trachomatis is responsible for up to 40% of conjunctivitis in neonates. If left untreated, neonatal conjunctivitis can cause blindness.

The symptoms usually develop within 1 day to 2 weeks after birth and typically include redness of the conjunctiva, eyelid swelling, and mucous discharge. At least half of neonates with Chlamydia Conjunctivitis also have the bacteria present in the nasopharynx, and some go on to develop Chlamydia pneumonia. Therefore, oral antibiotic therapy is the treatment of choice in neonatal Chlamydia Conjunctivitis as it can also target concomitant nasopharyngeal infection.

The condition can be prevented by undergoing prompt screening and treatment if a genital infection is suspected during pregnancy. Deliveries should be conducted under hygienic conditions taking all aseptic measures. The newborn baby’s closed lids should be thoroughly cleansed and dried.

Next Read: Common STD Incubation Periods

Common STD Incubation Periods

STD Incubation Period. The incubation period for the various STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is a common question asked by patients in our clinics. It refers to the time between acquiring the infection and the presentation of symptoms. This is different from the window period, which refers to the period after infection in which no current available tests are sensitive enough to detect the infection. The window period for the various STIs depends on which tests are used. 

As different STIs have different incubation periods, it is not easy to answer the question when symptoms will appear after a particular risky exposure. I will list below the common STIs tested for, their incubation and window period as well as possible initial presentation. 


The following are the Common STDs and their incubating periods:

#1 STD Incubation Period – Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Early HIV infection refers to approximately 6 months after initial acquisition. It is estimated that 10 to 60 percent of all early HIV infections are asymptomatic, or without any symptoms. For early symptomatic HIV infection, the usual incubation period is around 2 to 4 weeks, although incubation periods as long as 10 months have been observed.

Acute symptomatic HIV infection present with a collection of signs and symptoms known as Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS). The most common findings for ARS are fever, sore throat, rash, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and pains. However, all these symptoms are not specific to acute HIV infection, hence please do not panic if you observe these symptoms after a risky encounter. See your doctor for further advice and testing

The Window period for HIV testing depends on the test that is conducted. The initially 10 days after exposure is known as the eclipse period, for which there are no tests that can pick up any infection. The earliest tests that can be done with conclusive results are the HIV ProViral DNA test or the HIV RNA PCR test, which can pick up possible acute infections 10 days after exposure.

4th Generation HIV tests will be conclusive around 28 days after exposure, while 3rd Generation HIV tests will be conclusive around 90 days after exposure. 

Anonymous HIV Testing is available at our Robertson Walk Branch. HIV Test results in 20 mins.


#2 STD Incubation Period – Syphilis

Approximately 50% of patients diagnosed with syphilis do not have any symptoms. This is because syphilis has 3 stages of infection: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Syphilis and Primary and Secondary syphilis might have symptoms that are so mild that they are ignored by the patient.

Primary syphilis presents with a painless ulcer on the genitalia, known as a chancre. The incubation period for a chancre appears to range from 3 to 90 days, with an average of around 21 days. The chancre will heal within 3 to 6 weeks even without treatment. Within weeks to a few months after the chancre appears, around 25 percent of untreated individuals will develop Secondary Syphilis.

Secondary Syphilis can present with a widespread rash, ulcers, patchy hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss and fatigue. The infection subsequently goes into a latent phase lasting for years for which there are no signs or symptoms. This is the reason why the majority of syphilis picked up on routine screening are asymptomatic.

Neurosyphilis occurs when the infection reaches the central nervous system i.e. the brain or spinal cord. Neurosyphilis can occur at any stage of infection, but tends to occur in tertiary syphilis. Therefore, neurosyphilis can occur within a few months, but could also develop after 10 to 30 years, of a syphilis infection. 

The window period for syphilis testing depends on the stage of syphilis infection. The blood tests (FTA-ABS and TPPA) will be positive around 1 to 2 weeks after chancre formation. 


#3 STD Incubation Period – Hepatitis B and C

The majority of hepatitis B and C infection are asymptomatic. It has been estimated that around 30 percent of acute hepatitis B infection and less than 25 percent of acute hepatitis C infection are symptomatic. Symptoms of acute infection tend to be very mild and may include the following: Fever, Fatigue, Nausea/vomiting, Dark Urine, Pale stools and abdominal pain. 

The incubation for acute hepatitis B infection is estimated to be around 1 month to 4 month, while the incubation period for acute hepatitis C infection is estimated to be from 2 weeks to 3 months.

The window period for both hepatitis B and C testing for antibodies is on the average about a month. It will be much shorter if alternate tests such as the Hepatitis C RNA PCR test for Hepatitis B Viral Load are used instead.


#4 STD Incubation Period – Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is caused by both Herpes Simplex Virus 1 or 2 (HSV1/2). Genital herpes infections often do not have symptoms or mild symptoms that go unrecognized. It is estimated that one third of patients with new infections do not have symptoms. The initial presentation of symptoms range from severe with painful genitalia ulcers, painful urination, painful lymph node swellings and fever. However, patients also can have mild or no symptoms as well. The initial presentation does not depends on the type of virus (HSV1 vs HSV2)

The incubation period for genital herpes is around 4 days, with a range from 2 days to 12 days.

For asymptomatic infections, HSV 1/2 Antibodies will start appearing in the serum starting from 3 weeks and majority of patients would have antibodies by 16 weeks. The window period for testing for asymptomatic patients is hence from 3 weeks to 16 weeks. For patients with symptoms of the painful genital ulcers, the test of choice is Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT) for which a swab of the ulcer is taken and tested for HSV DNA. There is no window period for NAAT.

Rapid Herpes Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


#5 STD Incubation Period – Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea causes different symptoms for men and women. For women, the cervix is the most common site of infection and the common symptoms are vaginal itch and discharge. Some women also have heavier periods or bleeding in-between periods. If the infection has ascended beyond the cervix into the uterus, this is a potentially more dangerous condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) for which abdomen pain and fever are common symptoms. Up to 70 percent of patients with cervical gonorrhea infection are asymptomatic. 

For men, urethritis is the most common presentation of gonorrhea infections. It is characterised by purulent urethral discharge and painful urination. In contrast to infections in women, the majority of infections in men are symptomatic. 

In women, the incubation period for genital infection is around 10 days. In men, the incubation period for symptomatic infected men is around 2 to 5 days, with 90 percent of these individuals with symptoms of urethritis by 2 weeks.  

The gold standard for testing for gonorrhea infection is NAAT, a urine sample for men and a cervical swab for women. As NAAT is able to detect low numbers of organisms with good accuracy, there is no window period for NAAT testing.

Rapid Gonorrhea & Chlamydia Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


#6 STD Incubation Period – Chlamydia

Chlamydia causes similar symptoms as gonorrhea in both men and women. In women, the cervix is also the most common site of infection with a proportion of patients having a urethra infection as well. However the majority of infected women, around 85 percent of patients are asymptomatic with neither signs or symptoms.

Symptoms of chlamydia infection are similar to gonorrhea in men as well, with a clear to mucoid penile discharge and painful urination. The proportion of asymptomatic infection varies as well in men, ranging from 40 to 96 percent with no symptoms. 

The incubation period for symptomatic infection ranges from 5 to 14 days after exposure for both men and women.

The gold testing for testing for chlamydia infection is NAAT as well. There is no window period for NAAT testing.

Rapid Gonorrhea & Chlamydia Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


Asymptomatic/Mild Infections (%)Incubation PeriodSample TypesWindow Period
HIV10 to 602 to 4 weeksBloodProviral DNA : 10 days
RNA PCR : 12 days
4th Generation Ag/Ab :28 days
3rd Generation Ag : 90 days
Syphilis503 to 90 days
Average 21 days
BloodFTA-ABS : 1 to 2 weeks after chancre
Hepatitis BMajority Asymptomatic1 month to 4 monthBloodHbsAg : 1 month
Hepatitis CMajority Asymptomatic2 weeks to 3 monthBloodAnti-HCV Ab : 1 month
Herpes702 to 12 days
Average 4 days
Blood/
Swab
HSV 1/2 IgG : 3 to 16 weeks
HSV DNA PCR : No window period
GonorrheaWomen: 70
Men: Majority Symptomatic
Women:10 days
Men: 2 to 5 days
Swab/
Urine
Gonorrhea DNA PCR: No window period
ChlamydiaMajority Asymptomatic5 to 14 daysSwab/
Urine
Chlamydia DNA PCR: No window period

If you like to speak to our doctors on your STD concern, please visit any of our clinics in Singapore & Malaysia.

You can also email us at hello@dtapclinic.com, or call any of our clinics for an appointment

Also on this site: HIV Screening, HIV Test Clinic Singapore, STD Clinic Singapore


Crabs STDs – Pubic Lice

Pediculosis pubis also known as the Crab Louse is a common insect infestation of the human genital area. As the infestation becomes more profound, it can also extend into other parts of the body including the eyelids. 

The louse is approximately 1 cm in size, which makes it visible to the naked eye. It has 6 legs, 4 of which have prominent pincer-like claws – much like a crab, which it uses to attach to its host. The louse feeds off its host by biting and drawing blood from the area. The lifespan of the louse is between 3 – 4 weeks, during which time, the female louse can lay as many as 80 eggs or nits. 

How do you get them?

Sexual transmission is the most common mode of transmission of the louse. Once the area has become infested with the louse, the patient will soon experience itchiness in the area. Prolonged infestation generally results in bluish bite marks in the skin. The louse requires a warm area and blood to thrive, hence they do not remain on inorganic surfaces such as tabletops and toilet seats for long. This means you do not usually get an infestation by touching such areas. 

The most at risk population are teenagers and young adults. 

How to get rid of Crabs STDs (Pubic Lice)?

The current treatment for Pediculosis pubis infestation is by topical treatment to the affected area. The aim of these treatments are to eradicate both the adult louse and nits. Although cure rates are high, it generally takes a few sessions of topical treatments to achieve complete eradication.

How to avoid getting Crabs STDs (Pubic Lice)?

The best way to prevent yourself from getting an infestation is to avoid contact with the louse. If you find out that your partner has an infestation, ensure that you clear the environment of any adult louse and eggs. Wash all fabrics such as curtains, bedding, towels and clothes with a hot cycle and a strong disinfectant. In the event you do find that you have an infestation see your doctor immediately so that treatment can be started early.

Next read: PARASITIC STIS – SCABIES

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crabs stds

Also on this site: hiv screening

Common Medical Conditions That Are Asymptomatic

Signs and Symptoms are technical terms to describe the extent of disease in a patient. A sign is an effect of the disease that can be observed by another person or elicited through certain manoeuvres while a symptom is an effect that is experienced only by the patient. 

What does being asymptomatic mean?

Being “asymptomatic” is when the patient does have the disease but does not experience any effects of the disease. In this article, we will be discussing 5 diseases where patients are usually asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease but as the disease progresses, it adds an increased burden on the body leading to more pronounced signs and symptoms.

The 5 diseases were selected because while there is no way for patients to know if they have the disease early on due to the lack of symptoms these diseases can be easily detected during health screening with your General Practitioner. Therefore, we hope to highlight the importance of your health screening in allowing your doctor to detect these diseases early and prevent the disease from progressing to a more severe state.

So just before you brush off that health screening appointment because “I feel OK” , have a read to see the benefits or early detection and treatment.


5 Diseases where patients are asymptomatic

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

What it is?

HIV infection is a disease in which the virus attacks specific cells (CD4) in the immune system and uses the cells to create more copies of the virus, killing the host cells in the process. In the early stages of HIV, the rate of CD 4 cell production can still cope with the loss from the viral infection, therefore patients are mostly asymptomatic.

Over time as the virus replication picks up pace, the CD 4 cell numbers dwindle and the immune system becomes less effective in responding to environmental insults such as bacterial or fungal infections. Major risk factors for HIV infection include, IV drug use, unprotected casual sex and anal intercourse.

How do you test for it?

Point of Care testing can be done at most clinics in Singapore, this involves taking a sample of blood from a finger prick and placing it into a test kit. Currently, the earliest you can be tested for HIV is 30 days after infection. Early treatment of HIV prevents the virus from replicating and thus prevents the disease from worsening and progressing to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
HIV Testing Singapore
Anonymous HIV Testing Singapore

Chlamydia

What it is?

Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection in both Men and Women. Infection is usually found in the genital tract but also in the rectum, throat and even eyes. Up to 70% of women and 50% of men are asymptomatic. Left untreated, the bacteria can replicate further to eventually lead to an inflammatory state in the pelvis. This results in severe discomfort and particularly in women the risk of infertility is especially raised if chlamydia is untreated.

How do you test for it?

Chalmydia Rapid testing can be carried out to detect the presence of Chalmydia within 24 hours. A sample is taken from the region, a vaginal swab for women and a urine sample for men, and a Polymerase Chain Reaction is used to detect any chlamydial genetic material. Treatment of chlamydia can be as simple as a single dose of antibiotics if detected at an early stage.
Rapid STD Testing Singapore

Chronic Illnesses

High cholesterol

What it is?

Cholesterol can be thought of in 2 forms, a high density form (HDL) and a low density form (LDL). HDL lowers the total cholesterol in the body while LDL increases it. An increase in cholesterol and triglycerides (both from fatty foods) results in plaques developing within your blood vessels (Atherosclerosis). As the plaques increase in size, blood flow to your vital organs like your heart and brain are compromised thus increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

How do you test for it?

A blood test usually done at your health screening enables your doctor to determine the cholesterol levels in your body. Not all elevated cholesterol has to be treated with  medications because changes in diet and lifestyle can also lower cholesterol in some cases. 

Hypertension

What it is?

Hypertension is when your blood pressure is persistently elevated, the normal blood pressure should be below 140 systolic and 90 diastolic. There are myriad of causes for elevated blood pressure including, high salt intake, stress or kidney disease.

However, many people have Essential hypertension, which is when the blood pressure is found to be elevated for no particular cause. Even though the cause may not be determined in most cases of hypertension, patients with an elevated blood pressure have a higher risk of strokes. This is because, the increased pressure in the blood adds additional strain to the blood vessels, eventually, the blood vessels become weaker and are more likely to break, resulting in a stroke.

How do you test for it?

The diagnosis of hypertension in an asymptomatic patient involves a Blood Pressure diary where the patient measures her blood pressure at the start and end of the day for 2 weeks. A persistently elevated blood pressure may prompt the doctor to start treatment, however there are also non-pharmacological means of lowering blood pressure.

Diabetes

What it is?

Diabetes, in particular Type 2 Diabetes, is a condition where the body is unable to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. This results in wide spread effects on the patient because sugar derived from carbohydrate metabolism is essential to many cellular activities in the body. Although patients are mostly asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, patients can eventually have a variety of pathologies as the disease progresses such as loss of sensation in the hands and feet, poor wound healing, reduced immunity and even blindness.

How do you test for it?

Testing for diabetes also involves a blood test to measure the sugar levels in a fasting state to gauge the current level of sugar metabolism in your body and the Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) which is a gauge of the long term extent of sugar metabolism in your body. Depending on the extent of your disease, treatment of diabetes can range of lifestyle modification to injectable medications.


Having a disease in its early stages sometimes means that you still feel “fine” and not experience any symptoms. However, if left untreated, these diseases can progress and lead to severe complications in your health. Getting checked regularly is essential for detecting disease in the asymptomatic phase and treating it early. This prevents the disease from progressing to a more severe state and allows us to lead better, healthier lives. Speak to your doctor today!


Other Asymptomatic Medical Conditions:

Also on this site: Wart Removal Singapore, STD Check Singapore