Posts

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

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a common STI (sexually transmitted infection). It can be transmitted by different forms of sexual contact including vaginal, anal and oral intercourse. The symptoms experienced can include painful urination, penile/vaginal discharge, and, specifically in women; pain during sex, bleeding after sex, inter-menstrual bleeding, and lower pelvic pains.

Mycoplasma Genitalium is not as well known as Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea. The key reason for this, is the difficulty in testing for the infection and also a lack of awareness about the condition.


Here are 10 interesting things that you didn’t know about Mycoplasma Genitalium

1. Mycoplasma Genitalium was first identified in the 1980s

The bacteria was first isolated in the urogenital tract of humans in 1981, and was recognised as a new species of Mycoplasma in 1983. As it is still relatively recent that Mycoplasma Genitalium was identified, there is lack of sufficient data and research, and perhaps more of the condition that we do not yet know about.


2. Mycoplasma Genitalium is one of the smallest free living microorganisms capable of self-replication

The Mycoplasma species are the smallest bacterial cells yet discovered, with sizes ranging from 0.2 to 0.7 micrometres. In fact, Mycoplasma Genitalium is too small to be visible under a light microscope, and the first detailed study of its structure was conducted under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). 

3. Mycoplasma Genitalium is one out of the 15 (known so far) named Mycoplasma species of the human origin

Hundreds of Mycoplasma species are known to infect animals and plants. Of these, about 15 are pathogenic in humans. Mycoplasma Genitalium was the 12th to be identified.

4. Mycoplasma Genitalium is more common than Gonorrhoea and is the second most prevalent STI after Chlamydia

Since its discovery around 30 years ago, Mycoplasma Genitalium is now recognized as an important cause of male urethritis. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is more common than Gonorrhoea but less common than Chlamydia, and is responsible for approximately 15%–20% of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), 20%–25% of non-chlamydial NGU, and approximately 30% of persistent or recurrent urethritis.

5. It is possible to have Mycoplasma Genitalium and not know it, and there is a high chance that your partner is also infected

Infection with Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause the symptoms as mentioned earlier, but can also be asymptomatic. Studies have shown that in heterosexual couples where the male partner was tested positive, up to 30% of the female partners were positive for the bacteria. If the female was first tested positive, up to 50% of their male partners tested positive as well. In men who have sex with men, up to 40% of their partners tested positive for the bacteria in the rectum. This points to the fact that if a person is tested positive for the bacteria there is a good chance that their partner is also infected.

6. Mycoplasma Genitalium, like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, can lead to more serious complications with long term health consequences

Data suggests that Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in females, as the bacteria is found in the cervix and/or endometrium of women with PID more often than in women without PID. Women with tubal factor infertility are more likely to have antibodies to Mycoplasma Genitalium than fertile women, suggesting that this organism might cause female infertility. Two studies have shown that infection with Mycoplasma Genitalium is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery in pregnant women.

It remains unknown whether Mycoplasma Genitalium can cause male infertility. However, the organism has been detected in men with epididymitis in a limited number of cases.

7. Mycoplasma Genitalium is a slow growing bacteria; this leads to diagnostic challenges

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a fastidious, slow-growing organism. This makes detection and subsequent isolation of the bacteria extremely difficult. Culture can take up to 6 months, and only a few laboratories in the world are able to recover clinical isolates.

Therefore, the preferred method of testing is by Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), typically using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). NAAT detects genetic materials (DNA or RNA) rather than antigens or antibodies, and is highly accurate. Testing can be done on urine, urethral, vaginal, and cervical swabs and endometrial biopsy. However, to date there is no diagnostic test for Mycoplasma Genitalium that has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

8. Mycoplasma Genitalium does not have a cell wall

The Mycoplasma Genitalium bacteria lacks a cell wall, which makes treatment of the infection more difficult as certain classes of antibiotics that work by targeting bacterial cell walls are ineffective against this organism.

9. You can get reinfected with Mycoplasma Genitalium even after you have been treated for it 

Much like many other STIs, it is possible to get reinfected with Mycoplasma Genitalium even after one has been successfully treated for it. Therefore, safe sexual practices including using barrier protection, reducing your number of sexual partners and knowing your partners’ infection status is important in keeping yourself safe and healthy.

10. It is possible for vertical transmission of Mycoplasma Genitalium to occur?

Although uncommon, it is possible for vertical transmission of Mycoplasma Genitalium from mother to baby to occur, as previously reported in one case. 

Next read: MYCOPLASMA GENITALIUM (MG) – STD SCREENING, TESTING & TREATMENT


Find a doctor | Make an appointment

Chlamydia Symptoms & Treatment

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide. It is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the US Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in the US, with 2.86 million infections reported every year.

Who is at risk of getting Chlamydia?

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. Young women may have a benign condition called cervical ectopy, which makes them more susceptible to getting Chlamydia.

How is Chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact with the genitalia, anal canal or oral cavity of an infected individual – this includes through vaginal sexual intercourse, anal sexual intercourse and oral intercourse. Sexual activities involving the sharing of sex toys and contact with body fluids can also spread Chlamydia.
During childbirth, an infected mother can also transmit Chlamydia to her unborn infant, resulting in complications which are detailed below.

What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Most individuals with Chlamydia DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. Less than 50% of both men and women with Chlamydia develop symptoms. This is also why Chlamydia is such a common bacterial STD – because asymptomatic individuals are unaware that they are infected and continue to spread it to their sexual partners.
IF symptoms do develop, they may occur anytime from days to weeks after the initial infection.

Symptoms of Chlamydia in men include:

  • Dysuria (painful urination)
  • Urgency and frequency of urination
  • Discomfort along the urethra/urine tract
  • Penile discharge which is usually clear or watery
  • Pain or swelling of the testicles may occur in a less common but serious infection called epididymoorchitis
  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvis due to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)

Chlamydia in males can result in urethritis (inflammation of the urine tract) and epididymoorchitis (inflammation of the testicles or epididymis).

Symptoms of Chlamydia in women include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge which may be different in colour, odour, quantity and consistency
  • Bleeding after intercouse (post coital bleeding)
  • Abnormal spotting/bleeding in between menstrual periods
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Abdominal pain or fever can possibly occur during pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), where the infection spreads upwards to affect the uterus and Fallopian tubes, but the bulk of Chlamydia related PID is actually ASYMPTOMATIC

Chlamydia in females can result in vaginitis, cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease (involving the uterus and fallopian tubes).

Symptoms of Chlamydia infection not specific to males or females:

  • Chlamydia conjunctivitis – red, irritated eyes can occur after contact with infected fluids
  • Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum) – can give rise to rectal discomfort, discharge or pain, but most cases of rectal Chlamydia are again ASYMPTOMATIC
  • Throat chlamydia tends to be asymptomatic

What are the possible complications of a Chlamydia infection?

Women Chlamydia Complication

In untreated women, Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, where the infection spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in chronic inflammation, scarring, potential infertility, increased risk of ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies outside of the uterus) and possible chronic pelvic pain.
Unfortunately, Chlamydia tends to cause “silent” PID without any symptoms at all.

Men Chlamydia Complication

In men, uncommon but more serious infections affecting the testicles and epididymis can occur.
Chlamydia infection increases the risk of pre-term delivery in pregnant women. Transmission of Chlamydia to the infant during childbirth can also result in severe eye infections (known as opthalmia neonatorum), or lung infections (pneumonia).

A condition called “reactive arthritis” (joint pain and swelling) can occur in both males and females.
Chlamydial infections in both males and females increases the risk of acquiring HIV.

How is a Chlamydia infection diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Chlamydia is best done using nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), which detects the presence of Chlamydia trachomatis DNA in a sample:

  • In men: a urine sample
  • In women: an endocervical swab
  • A throat swab or rectal swab can be used to diagnose throat or rectal Chlamydia respectively

See: Rapid Chlamydia & Gonorrhea PCR Screening (Next Day Results) is available in all our clinics in Singapore.

How is Chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics, however, there is an increasing concern of resistance to certain antibiotics in various parts of the world.
Testing and treatment of sexual partners is also crucial and infected individuals should abstain from sexual intercourse or activity during treatment. After completion of treatment, a repeat test should also be done to confirm that the Chlamydia infection has truly been cleared.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on the specifics of treatment.

How do I minimise my risk of getting Chlamydia?

You can reduce your risk of Chlamydia through observing safe sexual practices – including consistent and correct use of barrier protection (condoms), reducing the number of sexual partners or being in a mutually monogamous relationship where you know your partner’s infection status.
Regular sexual health screening is also important, since most Chlamydia infections are asymptomatic. In fact, the US CDC recommends yearly Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 25.

If you would like to find out more about Chlamydia Testing and Treatment, come down to any of our clinics for a consultation.
Rapid Chlamydia & Gonorrhea PCR Screening (Next Day Results) is available in all our clinics in Singapore.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


Learn More about Other STDs & Other STD Symptoms


Sexually Transmitted Infections: More Than 1 Million New Cases Every Single Day

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report in June 2019 stating that every single day, there are more than 1 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among people aged 15-49 years. These are just from 4 infections – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.

This amounts to more than 376 million new cases annually. This is probably a lower number than the actual prevalence in the global population, as these are just the reported cases. On average, approximately 1 in 25 people globally have at least one of these STIs, with some experiencing multiple infections at the same time.

 

About these 4 STIs

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are bacterial infections that can be spread through sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal). They can be asymptomatic in some people, but in others can cause urinary symptoms such as penile or vaginal pain, urethral discharge, pain on passing urine, urinary frequency and urgency.

They can also cause irregular spotting in females. The long term complications of untreated chlamydia and gonorrhoea are pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in females and infertility in both sexes.

 Also Read:

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by infection by a parasite transmitted during sexual intercourse. The parasite usually infects the lower genital tract (vagina or penis). It can also cause symptoms such as those mentioned above.

Also Read: STD Symptoms in Women

 

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can result in genital ulcers and a rash. In its later stages, syphilis can affect your eyes, ears, heart, nerves, bones, kidneys and liver. It can cause serious cardiovascular and neurological disease and even death.

Also Read: Signs & Symptoms of Syphilis: Painless STD Sores & Rashes

All four diseases are associated with an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. Transmission of these diseases during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences for babies including stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, blindness, pneumonia, and congenital deformities.

Also Read:

It is important to note that most cases are asymptomatic, meaning people may not have any symptoms at all and are unaware they have an infection if they do not test for these STIs.

 

How Do We Go About Managing These STIs?

These 4 infections are easily detectable, preventable and curable.

STD Testing: There are multiple ways to detect these STIs, but in general, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Trichomonas can be detected with a swab test in females or a urine test in males. Syphilis can be detected with a blood test. Read: Comprehensive STD Screening

STD Treatment: After being treated with antibiotics, these infections can be fully cleared from the body. However, because a significant proportion of people can be without symptoms, these infections can go untreated in a person for long periods of time, wreaking havoc on their genitourinary and reproductive tract. These people can also spread these infections to other people, exacerbating this persistent and endemic health threat.

A point to note is that some strains of these infections (Gonorrhoea in particular) are developing multi-drug resistance and evolving into “super-bugs” that are increasingly difficult to treat with current antibiotics. Significant resources are being directed to research in this area, but the most important thing is to get tested and treated early.

 

Who Should Get Tested?

If you have never been tested for STIs before, but have been exposed to sexual encounters in the past, we would recommend you to get tested.

 We also recommend anyone who has had a new sexual encounter to get tested, even if you had used condoms. While it is true that condoms greatly reduce the risk of transmission of STIs, it does not absolutely foolproof as unsurprisingly in the real world they are not always used perfectly.

 Of course, if you have any symptoms, please do get tested and treated.

 

Other STIs

The above 4 STIs are just 4 of the many STIs that you can acquire through sexual contact. There are other STIs that we are concerned about. Other STIs such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chancroid, Molluscum, Pubic Lice and Scabies are some others that we are also concerned about.

It is important that sexually active individuals read up and learn about these STIs to know the signs, symptoms, and modes of transmission to better protect themselves. Knowing more about these STIs will also encourage a person to get treated early should they develop such symptoms.

 

How Do You Reduce Your Risk of Contracting These STIs?

Abstinence is the only way to reduce your risk to zero.

If you are sexually active, use barrier protection such as condoms, the right way. You can also speak to your partner to get tested for STIs before engaging in sexual activity.  A mutually monogamous relationship also carries a lower risk of STIs than having multiple sexual partners.

 If you are sexually active with multiple sexual partners, get yourself tested regularly and treated. The presence of one STI can increase your risk of contracting another one more easily. Most STIs can easily be detected through swabs, urine or blood tests at your doctors. These are rather pain-free and minimally invasive, so there should be no fear to get tested!

There are some STIs that are preventable through vaccinations. HPV Vaccines are available against certain strains of HPV that may cause warts, cervical, anal and penile cancer. Effective vaccines against Hepatitis B are available as well.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the WHO has highlighted the 4 STIs specifically as they are the one which can be completely eradicated from the body if treated properly. But there are other STIs that we should be concerned about too. The best thing you can do is to protect yourself against these STIs through the above-mentioned suggestions.

Get yourself tested regularly if you have new sexual partners. If you have any symptoms, get yourself treated early, and avoid sexual contact until you have been treated and cleared by the doctor as well. 

Take Care & Stay safe!


Other Interesting Reads:

  1. An Overview of STD – From an STD Doctor
  2. The HIV Pro-Virus DNA Test can be done 10 days post exposure.
  3. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? How to Improve Erection with Pills
  4. Is HPV Vaccine Necessary for Males?
  5. Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
  6. Sexual Health Advice for Travellers
  7. Is HPV Vaccine Necessary for Males?
  8. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
  9. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  10. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
  11. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  12. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
  13. Genital Warts: The Cauliflower-Like Lumps on the Genitals
  14. Syphilis Symptoms (Painless STD Sores & STD Rashes) 


Also see: wart removal singapore, hiv screening, std check up singapore

Why Do I Have Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?

Let’s talk a little about normal vaginal discharge first.

The vagina is a muscular passage which leads from the vaginal opening to the cervix, which is the entrance to the womb. There are naturally occurring “good” lactobacillus and other bacteria which are part of the normal vaginal flora. The walls of the vagina have glands which produce secretions for the cleansing of the vaginal canal. Normal vaginal discharge is a result of these secretions. It is usually clear or whitish and largely odourless and may change slightly throughout your menstrual cycle.
 

via GIPHY
 

How to identify abnormal vaginal discharge and what you should be worried about?

However, when you notice a major change from your usual vaginal discharge, this abnormal vaginal discharge may indicate that something is wrong.
Signs that your vaginal discharge may be abnormal include different coloured discharge – greenish, yellowish, greyish or even brownish discharge, the presence of a bad vaginal odour, changes in discharge consistency such as thicker, clumpy discharge or large amounts of watery discharge.
If this discharge is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever, or spotting/bleeding after sexual intercourse or bleeding when your period is not due yet, then these are all alarming features that should Fprompt you to consult a doctor.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is one of the most common female health problems and it should not be something you feel you have to suffer in silence about. Most ladies will experience this at some point in their life and while it can be an extremely distressing and uncomfortable problem, it is very treatable.
 
 

You probably have a vaginal infection.

The top cause of abnormal vaginal discharge is a vaginal infection, also known as vaginitis. Other rare causes of abnormal vaginal discharge include cervical abnormalities such as cervical cancer.
The next question, then, would be what sort of infections you have to worry about if you are experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge. These can broadly be divided into Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and non-Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
The most common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are non-sexually transmitted infections- Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infections. These all occur when there is disruption to the delicate balance of your healthy vaginal flora and can be triggered by a multitude of factors.
However, if you have had unprotected sexual intercourse, particularly if you are unsure of your partner’s infection status (whether this be a casual partner or a long-term partner), then your abnormal vaginal discharge may very well be due to a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Trichomonas, and various types of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma bacteria.
Regardless of the underlying cause of your abnormal vaginal discharge, proper evaluation is crucial as it allows you to receive the appropriate treatment, which is important not just in relieving your discomfort but also in preventing more serious, long-term complications (like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) that can occur with certain infections.
 
 

Why does the abnormal vaginal discharge keep coming back?

This is a very common question and recurrent abnormal vaginal discharge can be an extremely frustrating and distressing issue.
Recurrent yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis tend to be responsible for the above phenomenon and can be triggered by a variety of factors which upset the balance of your vaginal flora.
 

1) Hormonal Fluctuations

  • For some ladies, they may find that the hormonal fluctuations during their peri-menstrual period (before or after menses), may cause them to be prone to recurrent yeast infections.
  • Pregnancy

 

2) Weakened Immune System

  • If you have diabetes or are undergoing any other sort of medical treatment that affects your immunity, you may be more prone to recurrent yeast infections.

 

3) Sexual Lifestyle

  • Sexual intercourse can trigger off bacterial vaginosis – in fact, the number of sexual partners which one has had is actually a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis, with every new partner that a lady has increased the risk of Bacterial Vaginosis infections.
  • Other habits like using spermicide may also kill off the good lactobacilli in the vagina and lead to increased susceptibility to infection

 

4) Medications

  • Being on the combined oral contraceptive pill does increase your risk of recurrent yeast infections
  • Antibiotic usage (for instance, taking something for a bacterial throat infection) can also (ironically) upset the delicate balance down there

 

5) Hygiene Habits

  • Use of vaginal douche washes or feminine washes with harsh chemicals can disrupt your natural vaginal balance and lead to increased yeast and BV infections
  • Tight underwear, pantyliners or menstrual pads which trap humidity and moisture may also place you at increased risk for a yeast infection

 
As can be seen, not all triggers may be entirely avoidable but good habits- like avoiding feminine douche washes, wearing breathable cotton underwear, minimising antibiotic use unless medically indicated, and using condoms- do play a part in helping you maintain a healthy vagina.
If you keep having abnormal vaginal discharge that comes back with a vengeance after the initial episode, do speak to your doctor about additional treatment that may be suitable for you.
 
Remember that you are not alone – abnormal vaginal discharge is common – and treatable!
Don’t let your discomfort about the topic keep you from treatment.
 
Take Care!

Other Interesting Reads:

    1. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
    2. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
    3. How Do I Get an Anonymous HIV Testing?
    4. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
    5. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
    6. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
    7. What is the Treatment for Cold Sores? What causes Cold Sores?

 
 

An overview of STD's from an STD Doctor

Sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STI’s/STD’s) are infections which are commonly spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

Some can even be spread just through direct skin-to-skin contact!

No one really talks about it, but sexually transmitted infections are very common, especially among young people – or rather, anyone who is sexually active is at risk!

Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are some of the most common STI’s we encounter in the clinic.
Syphilis and HIV are less commonly seen, but of course, pose a risk of serious and even potentially life-threatening complications if left undiagnosed or untreated.

Here are just some of the signs and symptoms that may appear if you have a sexually transmitted infection:

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Did you know that up to 8% of sexually active females between the age of 16-40 will be carrying a chlamydia infection at any one time, and most will not have any symptoms at all!

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms before the outbreak
  • Tingling, itching, or burning sensation where the blisters would appear
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Cold Sores
  • Crops of painful blisters/ulcers – these can vary in appearance and severity, and can be transmitted to any site of the body depending on exposure (e.g. mouth, hands, buttocks, eyes!)

It is estimated that 1 in 5 people in the US have genital herpes!

There is no way to fully eradicate the herpes virus once it has been contracted – it usually causes recurrent outbreaks of blisters, and can be transmitted even without visible ulcers.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

  • Certain types of HPV can cause genital warts – may appear as a small bump, or cluster of bumps, flat lesions, or ‘cauliflower-like’ protrusions with a small stem; sometimes these may be itchy or bleed if scratched
  • Most types of HPV are actually asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms), but can instead increase the risk of oral and genital cancers – these can be detected on screening (especially recommended for women > 30 years old, to be done together with a pap smear)

The newest HPV vaccine is now available, and will protect against 9 strains of the virus!

The US FDA has also recently extended the recommended coverage to males and females from ages 9 to 45 years old.

Syphilis

Known as ‘The Great Pretender’ as symptoms can mimic other conditions, and can vary greatly between individuals and depending on the stage of infection

  • Primary stage: usually presents with a solitary ulcer known as a chancre at site of initial infection, which is often painless and can be easily missed; may have associated swelling of lymph nodes as well
  • Secondary stage: can happen weeks after primary chancre has appeared and even healed, and presents with skin rashes and/or lesions over mucous membranes – the STD rash can occur on any part of the body, but typically also appears with reddish-brown spots over the palms and soles of feet
  • Tertiary stage: can occur many years (even decades) after infection was first acquired, and can affect multiple organ systems including the brain, nerves, heart, eyes, blood vessels, bones and joints

Learn More about Syphilis Symptoms (Painless Sore & Rashes) 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should I see a doctor?

If you have any worrying symptoms or exposure risk, see a doctor immediately. However, it is important to remember that many people may not have any noticeable symptoms for any of these infections, or that symptoms may take a long time to develop (weeks to months), thereby increasing the risk of complications and also the risk of transmission to others. As such, it is recommended to perform regular STI screening at least once or twice a year for anyone who is sexually active even if there are no obvious symptoms. STD Testing may be done more frequently if there has been any potentially risky exposure. Risky exposures would include sex with someone who has had multiple sex partners, sex with commercial sex workers (CSW), or unprotected sex with a person of unknown status.

What is the ‘window period’ for testing?

The window period refers to the time period following exposure where it may be still too early to detect infection with full accuracy. Different infections will have different window periods for detection. For bacterial infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, this period is fairly short, and most cases can be accurately detected 1-2 weeks post-exposure. However, for blood tests (e.g. HIV, syphilis) we usually recommend at least one-month post-exposure for accurate results. For concerns on specific infections, it is best to speak to the doctor who can advise you most clearly in person.

What will happen when I see the doctor?

Screening is a simple procedure and will include a thorough consultation with a doctor, physical examination if necessary, and either blood and/or urine or swab tests. You will need to find a doctor you can be comfortable speaking with about your risk and symptoms, as it will guide us to determine the most appropriate tests for you.

How soon can I get my results?

Most tests that we send to the lab will have a turnaround time of 3-5 working days. We also have Rapid STD Testing available in all our clinics for the “Big Four”: HIV and syphilis (results in 20 minutes), and chlamydia and gonorrhoea (next day results).
Earlier diagnosis means earlier and more effective treatment, reducing the risk of late-stage complications and also minimizing the risk of further transmission. 

Learn More: What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?

Will my medical information be revealed to anyone else?

Your medical information is strictly private and confidential, and will not be shared with any other individual or organization. Only HIV infection is notifiable by law in Singapore – this means that if you did a lab-based HIV test and it came back positive for HIV, this result would have to be notified to the Ministry of Health.

However, our Robertson Walk Branch has been mandated to perform rapid HIV testing anonymously – this means that no matter the result, it will not be notified to the Ministry of Health. The Robertson Walk clinic is the only DTAP branch that can do HIV testing anonymously.

Can these infections be cured?

Many of these infections are treatable and can be fully cured/eradicated. Certain infections require longer courses of treatment and/or clearance testing to ensure they are cleared.
However, there are a few infections which can be treated with medications but may not be fully curable, such as herpes, hepatitis B, and HIV. Your doctor will advise you in more detail should your tests show any abnormal results. (see HIV Treatment)

If you or your partner are experiencing any possible signs or symptoms of infection, or have had any potential risk exposures, please see a doctor today.

Take Care. Be Safe!


Other Interesting Reads:

  1. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
  2. World AIDS Day (2018) #KnowYourStatus – By Dr Tan Kok Kuan
  3. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? How to Improve Erection with Pills
  4. Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
  5. What are the Causes of Abnormal Penile Discharge?
  6. 4 Things You Need to Know About Penile Health
  7. Sexual Health Advice For Travellers 
  8. Mycoplasma Genitalium Testing & Treatment
  9. What are the Symptoms of HIV Infection and AIDS?
  10. Things You Need to Know about Travelling & HIV PrEP
  11. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  12. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
  13. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  14. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
  15. What is the Treatment for Cold Sores? What causes Cold Sores?
  16. Herpes: Everything You Need to Know!


We provide a discreet, comfortable and private environment for you to discuss your STD/HIV related medical matters.

How to Keep Your Sex Toys Clean

Sex toys have become extremely popular and are used by many men and women alike. The industry has blossomed in the past years and sex toys now come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.
Some are motorized with various movements from vibration to rotation while some are non-motorized. Popular toys include the G Spot Rabbit Vibrator, Fleshlight, Butt Plugs, Magic Wand, MONA 2, HUGO, njoy Pure Wand and Pure Plug.
 

Keeping you Sex Toys Clean.

Keeping your sex toys clean is essential to prevent nasty infections or skin reactions happening in areas where the sex toys come into contact with. If someone else has used your sex toys, maintaining proper hygiene will also protect you from possibly contracting an STD.
 
Sharing sex toys can potentially transmit gonorrhoea, chlamydia, MCV (Molluscum Contagiosum Virus) or even HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). I once saw a patient who was extremely worried because she found out that her domestic helper has been secretly using her sex toy. As she should be because of the risk of transmitting an infection.
 
Of course, STDs are not the only infections that using an unclean sex toy can cause. Sex toys can be the source of skin bacterial infections like impetigo (caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus) and infection with fungus and viruses.
 
Aside from infections, other particles and chemicals can stick onto sex toys especially those made from porous or sticky material. These chemicals can cause skin irritation or even an allergic reaction. Small particles can abrade the skin and even the mucosa of the vagina or anus.
 
So keeping your sex toys clean and maintaining good hygiene will ensure that you can enjoy the use of your sex toys without having to suffer any medical consequences. Also, maintaining proper cleanliness of the sex toys can extend their lifespan making your sometimes substantial investment go a long way.
 

Basic Principles

Always clean your sex toys immediately after use. Allowing it to dry out with body fluids on them make them much harder to clean.
As far as possible, allow your sex toys to air dry after cleaning. Wiping them dry can cause lint or other particles to stick onto the sex toys. If you do this, just make sure you rinse off the toy with warm water before use. Or you can wipe them down with a paper towel which is less likely to leave lint behind.
 
After drying, store the sex toys away immediately in a silk bag. This reduces the chance of dust or other particles coming to stick onto the surface or of it coming into contact with another dirty object and contaminating it again.
 
Do not use harsh cleaning chemicals to clean your sex toys. This can not only damage the material of the sex toy, but the harsh soap chemicals may also stay on the toy and cause you irritation or even an allergic reaction the next time you use it.
 
Do not soak battery powered or motorized sex toys. Unless the manufacturer of your toy certifies it waterproof if not soaking a battery-powered sex toy can damage it or worse, cause you to suffer a very unpleasant shock.
 
Do not use your dishwasher to clean your sex toys. The heat in the dishwater can damage the material of the toy. And of course, for battery-powered toys, it can be permanently damaged.
Wherever possible, cover your sex toy with a condom before use. This really ensures your own hygiene and makes cleaning up much easier.
 
Always read the cleaning instructions that come with the sex toy carefully.
If you experience any pain or discharge after using a sex toy, please see your Doctor.
 

How to clean Sex Toys of Various materials?

Leather

Leather toys can be wiped down with a bar of mild soap and water. You can also use a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to clean these toys. 70% isopropyl alcohol can be easily obtained from any pharmacy. Do not use anti-bacterial or perfumed soaps as it can leave a residue and irritate your genitals the next time you use it.
 

Silicone, Pyrex, Stainless Steel

For motorized toys, wipe it down with a bar of mild soap and water. For non-motorized toys, you can ensure a better clean by placing the toy in boiling water for ten minutes.
 

Cyberskin

Again you can clean it with a block of mild soap and water. Avoid too much scrubbing and soap foam as this can damage the material which is quite sensitive.
 

Jelly Rubber

This is a porous material that can trap bacteria and make it almost impossible to clean thoroughly. For this reason, many shops do not stock sex toys made of jelly rubber anymore. If you do want to use such toys, it is best to use them with a condom.
 

Special wipes and sprays

Wipes and sprays developed specifically for cleaning sex toys can be very convenient especially when you do not have access to clean running water. Popular brands include Shibari Advanced Antibacterial Toy Cleaner, Babeland Toy Cleaner and LELO Toy Cleaning Spray.
 
 

Conclusion

Sex toys are now extremely popular and can be a great source of pleasure. However, do not let them also become a great infection and discomfort.
Keeping your sex toys clean should be an integral part of your post-coital regime. This ensures not only your comfort in using them but also can prolong the life of the sex toys some of which we know can be pretty pricey.
 
Take Care.
 
 

Other Related Articles:

What is Rapid Chlamydia & Gonorrhea PCR STD Testing?

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are 2 common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) which can infections in various parts of the body such as penis, vaginal, anus, throat and eyes.
Most commonly you will experience discharges from the penis/ vaginal or discomfort when passing urine.
However, the majority of men may not have any symptoms and for women, 50% may also not have symptoms.
The infection will stay in the body for a few weeks after the symptoms have been treated.
In rare instances, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia can continue to cause damage to the body, specifically the urethra and testicles. Pain may also spread to the rectum. An overview of Gonorrhoea

At Dr Tan and Partners, we recognize that symptoms like abnormal vaginal discharges, penile discharge or discharge from the rectum can cause quite a bit of worry.
Thus, we have introduced a Rapid STD testing (next day results) that can detect these 2 infections within a day.
Which means that you can get the necessary treatment quickly as well.
All it requires is a urine sample or swab from the vaginal/ throat/ anal

This Rapid STD Testing detects for the presence of the DNA of the 2 organisms, making the test very sensitive

If you think you may have symptoms suggestive of chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection or if you think you may have been exposed and you are interested in an STD Screening, please visit a doctor for further evaluation.

Take Care!


Other Reads:

  1. Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
  2. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? How to Improve Erection with Pills
  3. HPV Infection & HPV Vaccination for Men who have sex with Men
  4. STD Risk for Receptive Unprotected Anal Sex in Men
  5. Low HIV Risk Doesn’t Mean No HIV Risk
  6. HIV PrEP for Travel – How You Need to Know
  7. An Overview on STD from an STD Doctor
  8. Everything You Need to Know about Herpes Simplex Virus
  9. How Do I Treat Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)
  10. Syphilis Symptoms – Painless Sore & Ulcers
  11. HIV Symptoms – What You Need to Know
  12. 10 Common HIV related Opportunistic Infections