Dr Donna’s Updated Advice on Sexual Health in Thailand
Dr Donna is a British General Practice doctor based at MedConsult Clinic in Sukhumvit Soi 49/9. In this article, Dr Donna provides key information and advice about sexual health in Thailand. MedConsult provides fast and confidential sexual health check-ups and STI/STD screening. Samples for testing can be self-taken and handed over at the clinic, if preferred, or consultations with Dr Donna can be arranged if requested. A physical examination is not essential and results are sent through by email, with advice provided too.
Unsure what sexual health check-ups to have done? If you don’t have any symptoms at all and you’re just looking to have a routine sexual health check-up, we usually recommend that: an HIV Screen (1), VDRL/ Syphilis Screen (2) and a Wet Smear/ ‘STI’ screen (3) are preformed if you are Female and a HIV screen (1), VDRL/ Syphilis (2) and a First Catch Urine test/ ‘STI’ screen are preformed if you are Male. Please see the image below for more details:
Most common sexually transmitted infections/ diseases (STIs/ STDs), including Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia, can be treated very easily with simple antibiotics. While that is not the case with all STIs/ STDs, receiving the earliest possible treatment for any condition will lead to the best possible results. If you have been exposed to a STI, or even if there is a chance you have been, it is important to undergo some simple medical checks. Many STIs can lay dormant, so you have no symptoms, until the disease progresses where treatment may be more extensive and expensive, and can have much more serious effects on a person’s health. STI checks are safe, easy and kept confidential at MedConsult. Here’s more information and advice about what is available for each of most common STDs/ STIs:
Both PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) are available at very reasonable prices with one simple prescription nowadays. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is taken before any exposure and is recommended if you think you may be at higher risk of being exposed to HIV at any point in the near future. PrEP involves taking one tablet of Teno Em per day and costs only 1450 Baht per month at MedConsult Clinic. If you think you may be at higher risk of ever being exposed to HIV, please do get in contact with us and we can provide PrEP very simply. On the otherhand, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is taken after potential exposure to HIV in order to prevent infection. PEP is an emergency measure and must be started within 72 hours of exposure in order to significantly reduce chances of becoming infected. PEP involves taking two tablets per day for around 28 days, and costs less than 2000 Baht at MedConsult. With PEP being available, it is more important than ever to seek immediate medical attention (as soon as possible) if you think you may have had any risk of exposure to HIV. HIV tests can also be performed very simply with results being sent through to you within 12-24 hours and costs only 400 Baht at MedConsult.
HIV can be spread through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex; this is because of an exchange of bodily fluids; such as semen and also blood from any tissue tears. A misconception is that once you’ve contracted HIV it’s a death sentence, this is simply not true!
As well as HIV, Chlamydia can be a disease that you might contract and never realize you have. In woman, Chlamydia often doesn’t present any noticeable symptoms, yet it can render a woman infertile. For this reason it can be a very devastating disease. Chlamydia can very easily screened for through a self-performed wet smear sample (females) or urine sample (males) for only 220 Baht at MedConsult Clinic. Chlamydia is easily treated in most cases by a simple course of antibiotics. Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs, and because of its silent nature many people are unknowingly affected by the disease – it is therefore recommended that sexually active people are screened for chlamydia every 3-6 months.
Herpes is a common disease and can be painful and distressing for both men and women. Essentially it is a viral infection and thus antiviral treatment is needed to combat the virus. Herpes is a disease which can have misleading symptoms that are often mistaken for skin conditions. Because of this many people who carry the virus are unaware of it. When symptoms do present themselves often you see a few blisters around the genitals or mouth, these can break to leave painful sores. This outbreak may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Although there is no absolute cure for genital herpes, anti-viral treatments can significantly shorten the length of outbreaks or prevent them from occurring altogether.
Gonorrhoea is another STD which is often silent, meaning there might not be any symptoms. But when symptoms do occur, it can be described as a burning sensation when urinating, discharge from vagina or penis, anal itching and painful bowel movements. It is possible to stop the infection, but it is not possible to undo any permanent damage caused by the disease, including infertility. Gonorrhoea can be very easily treated in most cases by a simple course of antibiotics. Because of this and because of its sometimes silent nature, it is recommended that sexually active people are screened for chlamydia every 3-6 months. Screening is also preformed through a self-performed wet smear sample (females) or urine sample (males) for only 220 Baht at MedConsult Clinic, and results are available within 12-24 hours.
90% of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 or 11. A simple HPV vaccination course of Gardasil can now be given to both females and males, and involves three vaccines over six months. Being protected can greatly help reduce your risk of contracting HPV and therefore, genital warts. Gardasil or Cervarix (another HPV vaccination) should be given to all females older than 13 and should be considered in males between the age of 9-26 years old as well. The vaccination helps prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and pre-cancers caused by HPV 16 and 18, as well as genital warts caused by HPV 6 and 11. A wide range of treatment of genital warts is also available with cryotherapy/ liquid nitrogen therapy. Cryotherapy is a very simple process which involves ‘freezing warts’ and costs between 900-1800 Baht at MedConsult. Other treatments for genital warts include Aldara cream, duofilm, collomack and curettage.
Sexual health does not only refer to STI checks. For women, an important aspect of sexual health is a pap smear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women who are sexually active or between the ages of 21 and 65 years of age (regardless of sexual history) have a pap smear done at least every three years. A pap smear can detect changes in cervical cells in precancerous stages. This means a pap smear can help to prevent the development of cervical cancer, and that cervical cancer is 100% preventable!
For more information on Sexual Health Checks (STI checks or pap smears) or to make an appointment please call us at MedConsult Clinic on 02-018-7855, email us at [email protected] or visit our website: http://www.medconsultasia.com
Dr. Donna Robinson, General Practitioner
Clinic Mobile: 092-269-4368
Address: The Racquet Club, 8 Sukhumvit Soi 49/9, Floor 3, Building 2
Email: [email protected]
Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 08.00-18.00, Saturday: 08.00-14.00