According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 1 million Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are acquired globally each day. Many people do not show any symptoms when they have an STI and some STIs can lead to longer lasting health issues, including problems with fertility and pregnancy. If you are worried about your sexual health, then the only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested.

In this article we look at the points mentioned in the video above, including key UK and global statistics about STIs, the possible long-term health complications and how common STIs are treated. We will also explain how easy it is to get a private and confidential STI test with Better2Know.

UK and global STI statistics

  • 75% of women and 50% of men with chlamydia do not show any symptoms
  • 161,672 people in England were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2020
  • Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest-growing STIs in the world
  • New diagnoses of syphilis have increased by 199% in the UK over the last 10 years
  • Approximately half the cases of trichomonas in the world are not currently diagnosed
  • HPV infections are associated with 311,000 cervical cancer deaths globally each year
  • According to UNAIDS, there were 37.7 million people across the globe with HIV in 2020
  • More than 6 million people worldwide are unaware they are living with HIV

What are the long-term health problems associated with STIs?

Depending on the infection, STIs can lead to a variety of different health conditions including problems with fertility, complications in pregnancy and links to several different cancers. If you have an STI, it also increases your chances of contracting another sexually transmitted infection.

HIV can cause irreparable damage to your immune system over the course of several years if left untreated, leading to weight loss, skin problems, recurrent infections and serious illness. Eventually, it will develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, commonly known as AIDS.

Other complications from an undiagnosed or untreated STI can include liver problems, weakened immune systems, kidney stones and in some extreme cases, damage to your joints, nerves and muscles. Knowing your sexual health status can protect not only your own health but that of your future partners too.

How are STIs treated?

The good news is that treatment for many sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, has advanced considerably over the last 30 years. STIs like chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea, trichomonas, and mycoplasma can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

There are a few STIs that you can protect yourself against with vaccinations. These include certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – which can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts – Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

Some STIs cannot be cured completely but can be managed with effective treatment. HIV for example is treated with antiretroviral drugs, which allow those living with HIV to go on to have normal healthy lives. People at risk of contracting HIV can take medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis(PrEP) which can help prevent them from initially contracting the virus.

You should always speak with a specialist doctor if you are diagnosed with an STI and follow the full course of treatment they recommend.

Private STI testing with Better2Know

Better2Know is the world’s leading provider of private sexual health testing services. Booking a test with us is quick and easy. We offer a confidential service in the UK and if you test positive for an STI, we can arrange a consultation with a specialist to get the treatment and care you require.

Better2Know offer a comprehensive range of individual STI tests along with STI screens, which test for multiple infections. These are designed by medical professionals to give a full overview of your sexual health. One of our most popular STI screens is the Platinum Screen which tests for HIV 1 and 2 and the p24 antigen, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Herpes type 1 and type 2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Gardnerella and Trichomonas.
If you are worried about any aspect of your sexual health, then speak in confidence with one of our well-trained patient services team, who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week using the number at the top of this page.


[1] STI rates remain a concern despite fall in 2020
[2] Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
[3] Global HIV statistics

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