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Prepared for party season? Don't leave these off your list...

Posted 9 December 2021 in Sexual Health

A young couple kissing at a celebrationIt’s a much-anticipated time of year with parties, gatherings and festivities taking place throughout the month. And while you’re ready to make up for lost time, don’t miss out by letting your sexual health fall to the wayside. There’s an easy – and discreet - way to access STI testing and treatment plus emergency contraception.

Discreet STI testing

Make sure you’re in the clear with testing kits that screen you for a full range of sexually transmitted infections. There are single test packs or ones that test you for seven of the most common infections, including:

And to be on the safe side, there’s also testing for HIV and Syphilis plus sexual health screening that works as a full MOT for complete peace of mind, including kits that are especially for men who have sex with men.

You can do the tests in the privacy of your own home and once the lab receives your kit, you’ll be sent the results within two to three working days.

Order an STI testing kit

STI treatment at home

If you find out you’re positive for one of the most common STIs listed above, then you can order a treatment pack to be sent to your home for the next working day.

You’ll complete a medical consultation questionnaire that will be reviewed by our doctor  to make sure you’re getting the right treatment, and your  medication   will be delivered the next working day if ordered by 4pm Monday to Friday.

This is a discreet and quick way to get the treatment you need at home. However, it’s worth noting that you may need to visit your GP for certain treatments, depending on the infection.

Order an STI treatment pack

Need emergency contraception now?

Whether we’re in or out of party season, it’s always good to know where you can get emergency contraception when you need it.

The morning after pill can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, depending on the type you take. But the sooner you take it, the better.

What’s more, you can order the morning after pill online and it will be sent to you confidentially the next working day, so you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing the package.

It works by stopping ovulation, so if you’re in the second half of your cycle where you have already ovulated, you should seek other types of emergency contraception from your GP or sexual health clinic, such as the emergency coil.

Order the morning after pill

If you have any questions or doubts about what treatment to take, or what’s best for you, our pharmacists are here to help. You can call us Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0161 491 1899.

Author: Gemma Boak

Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 09/12/21

Are you buying fake medicines online?

Posted 27 February 2021 in Erectile Dysfunction, Men's Health, Sexual Health, Weight Loss

We have all become familiar with the great convenience and ease of buying goods online but what about when it comes to medicines?

Buying medicines online, in the comfort of your own home, without having to take time off work or interrupt your busy schedule to visit your GP is a service we would all like to access. It becomes even more attractive if the nature of your treatment is for sensitive or intimate conditions.

How do you know if you are buying genuine medicines from a reputable registered seller?

ED to the left and STI's to the right

It is illegal to buy any prescription only medicine unless a doctor has written a prescription specifically for you.

More importantly, if a website or indeed any supplier is willing to sell you a prescription only medicine without a prescription then these unscrupulous dealers do not have any concerns about the dire consequences of supplying you fake, potentially harmful medicines.

Fake medicines range from being useless to highly dangerous as they often contain the wrong amount of active ingredient or a completely different ingredient to the one advertised. Some fake medicines have even been found to contain highly toxic substances such as rat poison, lead paint, floor wax and printer ink. The medicines may be made in dirty factories with no quality control and so the person taking the counterfeit medicine may find they are putting their health, even their life, at risk. These fake medicines may look identical to the genuine article and are often packaged to a high standard, making it very difficult to tell the difference.

The  World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 1 per cent of medicines available in the developed world are likely to be counterfeit. This figure rises to 10 per cent globally, but in some areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America counterfeit goods can form up to 30 per cent of the market.

This does not mean that all websites which sell medicines are doing so illegally or without a prescription but it’s very important to be sure that the website that YOU are using is selling genuine medicines from a UK regulated and registered pharmacy.

How can you check that the website you want to use to obtain medicines is a legitimate online pharmacy?

All websites selling prescription medication in England should be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who are a government appointed independent regulator of health and social care.

CQC Regulated LogoAll fully approved and regulated websites should have a clickable link that will take you to the CQC register to show that they are compliant.


All medicines must be supplied from a pharmacy that is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). 

If you are thinking of obtaining medicines from an online pharmacy, we would advise you to check if the website is legitimately registered by looking for the General Pharmaceutical Council, GPhC, voluntary logo. 

We would then recommend that you click on the logo which should take you through to that particular pharmacy’s entry on the GPhC register.

All websites operating in the UK, but outside of England, must be registered with the CQC equivalent body in each country: Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, and Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (Northern Ireland).

How does the logo work?

All pharmacies in Great Britain, including those providing internet services, must be registered with the GPhC and meet their standards for registered pharmacies.

GPhC Registered Pharmacy logo
 
The GPhC operates a voluntary internet pharmacy logo scheme to provide reassurance to patients and the public that they are purchasing medicines online from registered pharmacies who have to meet GPhC standards.

Therefore, anybody buying medicines from an online pharmacy can check if the pharmacy is legitimately registered by clicking on the logo or going directly to the GPhC website and searching their online register.

The EU common logo is a legal requirement across Europe that applies to all retailers of medicines whilst the GPhC voluntary logo is applicable only to UK registered pharmacies.

What other checks can be made?

You should be able to easily find the name and address of the pharmacy operating the website, as an online supplier who conceals its physical address is a warning sign that their products could be dangerous. The WHO estimates that 50 per cent of medicines available from such websites are counterfeit.

You should avoid websites which offer to supply prescription only medicines without a prescription as registered pharmacies are required to check that a medicine is suitable for a patient before selling it. Therefore, if you are not asked to provide information about your health before making a purchase then you would be wise to go elsewhere.

When you order any medication from our UK registered and regulated pharmacy you can be assured that you are doing so safely, legally and discreetly.

WebMed Pharmacy Ltd, a fully approved and Regulated UK Pharmacy (https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/registers/pharmacy/registrationnumber/9011118), only supplies medicines from a MHRA accredited wholesaler. You can confidently order from us, knowing that you can complete an online medical questionnaire in the comfort of your own home and if suitable can be prescribed by our GMC regulated doctor.

Webmed Pharmacy specialises in treatments where patients may feel embarrassed or awkward talking to their GP or simply find it difficult to get an appointment or don’t want to take time off work. We provide a confidential, discreet next working day delivery, of your chosen medicine, within a 1 hour time slot to the vast majority of postcodes in the UK or New Click & Collect from a store near you, with a choice of 4,500+ stores nationwide.

Quick easy links to our most popular pages with the confidence of knowing we are a fully approved and regulated pharmacy, only supplying UK sourced medication:

Erectile dysfunction | Sildenafil | Tadalafil

Gonorrhoea treatment | Chlamydia treatment

Hair Loss treatment | Finasteride

STI Tests | HIV Test Kits

Medically reviewed by: Super intendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 17/03/16. 

Updated and reviewed 02/05/17.

Updated and reviewed 27/02/21

Stay safe when buying medicines online

Posted 27 February 2021 in Erectile Dysfunction, Men's Health, Sexual Health, Womens health

More than fake news

We have all become familiar with the great convenience of purchasing goods online but how safe and reliable can the relatively uncontrolled web be, when it comes to buying medicines?

A question mark made of pillsBuying medicines online, in the comfort of your own home, without having to take time off work or interrupt your busy schedule to visit your GP is a service we would all like to access. It becomes even more attractive if the nature of your treatment is for sensitive or intimate conditions.

Webmed Pharmacy Ltd, a fully approved and Regulated UK Pharmacy, only supply medicines from UK wholesalers.

You can confidentially order by completing a confidential online medical consultation and, if suitable, will be prescribed your treatment by our GMC regulated doctor.

Webmed Pharmacy specialises in treatments where patients may feel embarrassed or awkward talking to their GP; or simply find it difficult to get an appointment; or aren’t able to take time off from work.

We provide a secure next working day delivery; within a 1 hour time slot, to the vast majority of postcodes in the UK. Or you can Click & Collect with a choice of 4,500+ pickup shops.

All our products are delivered in discreet packaging with no mention of the contents or where it is from.

A simple guide of how to check for genuine medicines online 

Regulated

CQC Regulated LogoAll websites selling prescription medication that is issued by a General Medical Council (GMC) doctor in England, should be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC are a government appointed, independent regulator of health and social care. They should have a clickable link that will take you to the CQC register to show you that they are compliant*
*or equivalent regulator in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales

Registered

GPhC Registered Pharmacy logoTo check if the website is legitimately registered, click on the logos which should take you through to their registers.

Reliable

With a 5* Trust Pilot score and an out-of-hours service for confidential advice and delivery of test results; we aim to offer an unrivalled personal service when it means the most to you.

We care at Webmed Pharmacy Ltd.

Written by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 03/02/20

Updated and reviewed 27/02/21


Are you looking after your sexual health?

Posted 13 January 2021 in Sexual Health

A happy young coupleHow seriously do you take your sexual health? Unfortunately, many people don’t give it a second thought until they catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

But, it’s something you make a priority from the time you become sexually active, because it’s about keeping you – and your partner – safe.

With January 14 designated STIQ Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual health, it’s a good time to think about if you would benefit from a sexual health check up – especially after the festive period, if you had casual sex, unprotected sex or do not have regular partner.

An STI is not the Christmas gift you want to give or receive, but cases are rising across the UK, and it’s not just young sexually active people who are affected: the figures among the over-65s rose by 41% between 2014 and 2018 (1).

What is an STI?

Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital warts, genital herpes and trichomoniasis vaginalis – are passed from one person to another when having unprotected sexual contact.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if you have an STI because you’ll develop no symptoms. For instance, about half of men and between 70% and 80% of women have no chlamydia symptoms, but if it is left untreated, men can become infertile, while women are at greater risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It’s also a major cause of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.

STIs in the UK

Public Health England (PHE) published a report in September 2020 (2), which showed a 5% increase in STIs between 2018 and 2019, with 468,342 diagnoses, while in Scotland, Health Protection Scotland (3) published two reports in May 2020, which revealed that chlamydia was the most reported STI in 2019, with 17,366 diagnoses – up 6% from the previous year. It’s a similar picture in Wales (4) and Northern Ireland (5).

Should you be worried about STIs?

It depends on how sexually active you are and whether you have a regular partner or not, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you don’t have a regular partner or have casual sex without using condoms, it’s a good idea to have a sexual health check-up, whichscreensfor STIs and HIV, every year.

PHE recommends annual chlamydia screening for anyone aged 25 and under who is sexually active or when changing sexual partner. For gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, PHE recommends annual HIV and STI testing, or every three months if you are having unprotected sex with casual or new partners (6).

You don’t have to be referred to your local sexual health clinic by your GP – you can book an appointment direct and you don’t have to have any symptoms to see a medical professional.

The process is straightforward: you’ll be asked about your sexual history – remember these are professionals; no one’s judging you and there is no need to feel embarrassed – and also about any medical conditions or prescription medicines.

You may be asked to provide a test sample – this could be blood or urine, or it could be a urethra or vaginal swab, or a swab from a genital sore, depending on what you are being tested for.

If your results show you have an STI you’ll be prescribed an appropriate antibiotic or antiviral treatment.

What if I think I have an STI?

Don’t delay if you think you have an STI or if a sexual partner contacts you to say they have one. Many infections are easily treatable, but if you ignore the symptoms, you risk avoidable health problems later on.

If you are unable to get to a clinic or your GP, you can order an at-home testing kit for the most common STIs, as well as sexual health screening tests and tests for HIV/ PrEP.

We pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive, high quality and confidential testing and treatment service.

And be assured: the test kit and treatment you receive from WebMed Pharmacy is the same as you would have at any GP or sexual health clinic, because we all follow the same medical guidelines.

Which treatment do I need?

You’ll be asked to complete a confidential medical questionnaire, which will be reviewed by our GPs, who will prescribe the appropriate treatment for your infection.

We offer 12 different tests and treatments:

Chlamydia

Gonorrhoea

Trichomoniasis vaginalis

2-in-1 test – for gonorrhoea and Chlamydia

3-in-1 test – for gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and trichomoniasis vaginalis

7-in-1 test – for gonorrhoea, Clamydia, trichomoniasis vaginalis, genital herpes, bacterial vaginosis, mycoplasma genitalium and ureaplasma urealyticum.

Home HIV Self Test

HIV Lab Test

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) prep treatment test kit

PrEP annual test

Genital herpes treatments

Test kits are sent to The Doctors Laboratory (TDL), the largest independent providers of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK, and we guarantee to turn around results quickly:

  • For HIV lab tests, the lab sends us the results within 24 hours of receiving the sample
  • For most other tests, we receive the results within 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample.

How Do I Receive the Test?

We use DPD for all mainland UK deliveries and Royal Mail Special Delivery for the Scottish Highlands and islands. Find out how our discreet delivery works.

Don’t leave your sexual health to chance – stay informed and get tested when you need to. If you are in any doubt, contact us today via email at: team@webmedpharmacy.co.uk or telephone: 0161 491 1899.

References

  1. https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/sexually-transmitted-infections-pensioners-up-17718889

  2. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/914184/STI_NCSP_report_2019.pdf

  3. https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/publications/hps-weekly-report/volume-54/issue-21/sti-diagnoses-continue-to-rise-in-scotland/

  4. https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/sexual-health/sexual-health-reports/sexual-health-in-wales-surveillance-scheme-quarterly-report-july-2019/

  5. https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/sites/default/files/2020-11/STI%20Surveillance%20Report%202020%20%282019%20data%29.pdf

  6. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/914184/STI_NCSP_report_2019.pdf p6

Written by Jayne Howarth 
13 January 2021

Don’t ignore erectile dysfunction! It’s treatable and you can even get treatment from a U.K. registered doctor online.

Posted 11 December 2020 in Erectile Dysfunction, Men's Health, Sexual Health

A happy man and his partner about to take ED medication for a night of pleasureAs we settle into another lockdown you may be wondering how you can spend your Friday nights now your favourite pubs and restaurants are shut.

One of the most fun replacements we can think of is to enjoy spending quality time with your partner in the bedroom. And while having an early night might be tempting if you’re overrun with kids, we’re talking about sex.

But what if sex is the cause of a great deal of anxiety? The great news is that if you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, there are lots of things you can do to get your confidence (and your sex life) back on track.

More men are familiar with ED than they’re letting on

The first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. Erectile dysfunction is something that affects more than half…yes half of men over the age of 40. (1)

So why are you not chatting about this at the bar with your mates?

Don’t worry, we know the answer already. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and it can be depressing. And because we know how you feel, we have developed a service that takes all of the embarrassment out of treating your erection problems (but more on that later).

Medications used to treat erectile dysfunction help by improving blood flow to your penis when you get sexually excited. This helps whether you are simply ‘a bit soft’ or you lose your erection part way through sexual playtime.

Common causes of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is usually a symptom of another condition, which is why it’s important to see your G.P. as soon as you are able to.

The main culprits are:

  • Physical problems which cause narrowing of the blood vessels going to the penis. This can be associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Physical injury and hormonal problems can also cause this.
  • Psychological factors include stress, anxiety, depression and relationship problems.
  • Side-effects of other medications including those for high blood pressure, prostate problems, high cholesterol, depression and anxiety. You can find out more about specific medications here.
  • Lifestyle can also contribute to ED, so if you’re overweight, smoke, drink excessively or take recreational drugs, you are more likely to suffer from these symptoms.(2)

Buying Viagra online in the UK

Viagra is one of the more well known erectile dysfunction drugs but what you might not know is that Viagra is actually a brand name.

Sildenafil is the active component in Viagra, and since the patent (legal property of the formula and manufacturing rights) expired, you can now buy Sildenafil much more cheaply than you can buy Viagra.

Sildenafil (Viagra) starts to work after around 30-60 minutes and lasts roughly 4-6 hours (3).

It’s a good option if you know you're going to need it, and can take it early enough for it to work. Just be aware that Sildenafil (Viagra) works best on an empty stomach so you may want to factor that into date night planning (we recommend reading the next section about Tadalafil if you're going for a dinner date).

Contrary to what you see in comedy sketches on T.V., you should* only get an erection if you are sexually aroused, so it should be ok to take before bedtime.

Do you need a prescription to buy Sildenafil (Viagra)?

Whether you are buying in person from a pharmacy, or from a GPhC registered online pharmacy like Webmed Pharmacy, some of these tablets require a prescription.


Need a prescription
(we can write you one free of charge) 

  • Sildenafil (25mg, 50mg & 100mg tablets)
  • Viagra (25mg & 100mg) 

Can buy without a prescription

  • Viagra Connect (50mg tablet)

When you order with us, you simply complete an online medical questionnaire so our doctor can assess whether the prescription is suitable for you. The doctor then issues a prescription electronically to our pharmacy where we dispense and deliver it directly to you in anonymous packaging using DPD next working day delivery (or local drop off point).

Buying Tadalafil (Cialis) online in the U.K

Tadalafil works in a similar way to Sildenafil as it increases blood flow to the penis.

Tadalafil is the name of the active component of Cialis, and like with Viagra, Cialis is the brand name and is usually more expensive to purchase.

There are some distinct advantages to using Tadalafil compared to some of the other erectile dysfunction medications out there (it’s certainly one of our favourites) because it does two things that we think are beneficial to many couples.

  1. It is still effective if taken with food, so your dinner date plans can go ahead as scheduled.
  2. The duration of action is up to 36 hours. So you can take this on Friday night, and get your flirt on all weekend without having to worry about taking a tablet ‘at the right time’. For this reason Tadalafil is sometimes referred to as ‘the weekend pill’ (4).

If you like the idea of being able to get an erection whenever you want, you may want to try Tadalafil Daily. This is a lower dose taken on a daily basis so you can be ready for action anytime and any place you choose.

Do you need a prescription to buy Tadalafil (Cialis)?

Whether you are buying in person from a pharmacy or from a GPhC registered online pharmacy like Webmed Pharmacy, all of these tablets require a prescription.

We can write you a prescription for free using our discreet online service.

When you order with us, you simply complete an online medical questionnaire so our doctor can assess whether the medication is suitable for you. The doctor then issues a prescription electronically to our pharmacy where we dispense and deliver it directly to you in anonymous packaging using DPD next working day delivery.


Need a prescription
(we can write you one free of charge) 

  • Tadalfil On Demand (10mg & 20mg tablets) 
  • Tadalafil Daily (2.5mg & 5mg tablets) 
  • Cialis On Demand (10mg & 20mg tablets) 
  • Cialis Daily (2.5mg, 5mg tablets) 

How to buy quality erectile dysfunction tablets online in the U.K. (and avoid illegal and potentially dangerous vendors).

It’s illegal to buy prescription only medicine unless a doctor has written a prescription specifically for you. This may be your G.P. or one of our experienced doctors.

We understand that it can feel embarrassing to have to talk to someone about your experiences which is why we make the process as quick and painless as possible. No face to face consultation is needed, our doctor will assess your suitability from the online medical questionnaire, and if additional clarification is needed you will be asked via the messaging centre on the website.

If you are looking at other online vendors then make sure they are a registered and regulated pharmacy like we are. This means you can know that you are receiving genuine, effective medication which follows the stringent quality testing and safety procedures that medicines in the U.K. must undergo.

Fake medicines are often manufactured to look identical to the genuine article so it is essential you buy E.D. tablets from a trusted vendor. You can find our quality seals, Pharmacy registration information and Quality Care Commision rating on the bottom of every page.

Other articles you may find useful:

*Note: If you have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours then you must contact your doctor immediately.

References

  1. Hackett et al. British Society for Sexual Medicine Guidelines on the Management of Erectile Dysfunction in Men—2017 The Journal of Sexual Medicine Available at: http://www.bssm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BSSM-ED-guidelines-2018-1.pdf [cited 20/11/20]
  2. Webmed Pharmacy. What Causes Erectile Dysfunction and what I can do about it [cited 20/11/20] Available at: https://webmedpharmacy.co.uk/blog/2016/09/what-causes-erectile-dysfunction-what-can-i-do-about-it
  3. Viagra Patient Information Leaflet  [cited 20/11/20] Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.1072.pdf
  4. Tadalafil Patient Information leaflet  [cited 20/11/20] Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.8637.pdf

Get your prescription delivered anonymously to a location of your choice by dpd

Posted 22 November 2019 in Allergies, Erectile Dysfunction, Hair Loss, Men's Health, Sexual Health, Weight Loss, Womens health

All of our treatments and tests are guaranteed next working day delivery in a 1 hour time slot by dpd to all mainland UK*.

DPD update

Discrete packaging

At WebMed one of our most popular FAQ’s is what sort of packaging will it come in?

We understand the need for discreet packaging and there is no mention of what’s inside or where its from. Here is a picture of a typical dpd Expresspak bag used.

DPD packaging

Predict & Follow my parcel

dpd are our preferred carrier with their industry-leading predict and follow my parcel service. With this service you will receive a message via your chosen method, SMS or email at approximately 8am, on the day of delivery giving you your one hour delivery window. It also allows you in real time map to track the progress of your parcel all the way down to a 15 minute window so you don’t have to wait in all day.

In-flight options

If you are not going to be home, you will be offered other options:

On the day you place your order you will receive a confirmation message by your chosen method, giving you the option to divert your parcel to the nearest dpd Pickup Shop. This could be close to home, or work or on your journey and many of the stores have extended opening times.

Divert to a Pickup Shop is also available at checkout. All deliveries must be signed for unless you ask for it to be left in a safe place (includes posting through your letterbox) where you will be asked to accept a disclaimer.

All of this excellent service is included within your price. No hidden extras at the checkout.

Webmed use dpd as our preferred courier to deliver to all mainland UK*.
*Excluding the Scottish Highlands and islands where we use Royal Mail Special Delivery.

DPD are the 'delivery company of choice' for the biggest and best-known retailers and are the UK's number one next-day specialist.

Today in the UK, DPD delivers over 200 million parcels a year, employs over 12,000 people  and operates more than 7,000 vehicles from 65 locations.

A DPD Van

Saturday and Sunday deliveries

At checkout we offer the option for Saturday or Sunday delivery to all mainland UK (except the Scottish Highlands and islands) by dpd for just a small cost of only £2.00.

For the Scottish Highlands, Northern Island, Scilly Isles and the Isle of Man we use Royal Mail Special Delivery offering a Saturday delivery for £4.00.

DPD Innovations

dpd have led the way with innovative technology including the “Your dpd App”, now used by more than 3.5million people.

dpd’s new £150m hub

Work is well underway on a new state-of-the-art hub in Hinkley, Leicestershire which is equivalent to 22 football pitches. Making it the largest parcel hub in Europe.

dpd Opens electric vehicle hub in central London

October 2018 saw the opening of dpd’s first all-electric vehicle depot in Westminster which will be delivering up to 2,000 parcels. They are using a fleet of 10 Nissan eNV200 all-electric vans for the last mile delivery which have a capability of making 120 drops per day. They plan to have 550 electric vehicles by 2021.

Webmed Pharmacy uses dpd as we want to offer our customers the best delivery service in the UK.



Cuts to sexual health service budgets – the rise of home testing and treatment

Posted 8 November 2019 in Sexual Health

A pipette dripping blue chemicals into a test tube of yellow chemicals. Source: medicalimages.comIn recent years, the government has cut funds for public health services across the country. One of the most drastically affected areas is sexual health – between 2016/17 and 2017/18, the budget for sexual health services provided by local authorities was slashed by around 30%. (1)

This has led to the closure of several sexual health clinics nationwide. For the general public, this means more people will be looking at STI home testing and treatment as an option.

What is the difference between STIs and STDs?

In recent decades, there has been a shift from referring to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) towards referring to STIs (sexually transmitted infections) - in fact, the NHS website refers solely to STIs, with no mention of STDs at all.

This is because not only does the word ‘disease’ hold more grave connotations, but ‘infection’ is the more accurate description since many cases of STIs experience no symptoms, contradicting the image of illness that ‘disease’ implies.

Furthermore, the infection leads to the potential disease, and the infection (not the disease) is what is transmitted from one person to another. For example, AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a disease which can occur as a result of infection with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). AIDS itself cannot be transmitted from one person to another, despite reference in society and popular culture.

What happens at a sexual health clinic?

You’ll be asked a few questions about your sexual history, medication and medical conditions. This is to make sure you receive the medication that is the most appropriate for you, if you need it.

A sample may then be taken. The type of sample depends on the STI being tested for and can be in the form of urine, a swab of the urethra (the tube through which urine flows from the body), a vaginal swab, a swab from a genital sore, or blood. HIV results may be available instantly but urine and swab samples may need to be sent off to a lab, so the results will be available after a week or two. Dependent on this, you may then receive antibiotic or antiviral treatment. The service is provided confidentially, so your details are kept private and your GP won’t be informed unless you want them to be. (2)

Where can I get a home testing or treatment pack?

Because more and more sexual health clinics are closing, alternative sources of testing and treatment will experience increased demand, including online pharmacies.

At Webmed Pharmacy we offer confidential testing and treatment for a range of STIs, as can be found here.

Below are some examples of STIs for which treatment can be purchased online:

Chlamydia

What’s the test for chlamydia?

Testing for chlamydia involves either taking a sample of urine for men, and a vaginal swab sample for women. (3)

What’s the home treatment for chlamydia?

The first line (ideal) treatment for chlamydia is an antibiotic called doxycycline. The course lasts for a week. (4)

Is the home treatment for chlamydia the same as I would get at a clinic?

Yes. Sexual health clinics, GPs and online pharmacies all follow the same guidelines. The guidelines are those issued by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, BASHH.

Gonorrhoea

What’s the test for gonorrhoea?

For men, either a urine sample or a swab of the urethra. For women, a vaginal or cervical swab, and sometimes a swab of the urethra. (5)

At Webmed Pharmacy it’s a urine sample for men and a swab sample for women.

What’s the home treatment for gonorrhoea?

The home treatment is a combination of two different antibiotics, azithromycin and cefixime (Suprax), all taken as a single dose.

Is the home treatment for gonorrhoea the same as I would get at a clinic?

No, because the first line treatment for gonorrhoea is an antibiotic injection into the buttock or thigh, a procedure which is not suitable for home treatment. The home treatment is the second line. (6)

Trichomoniasis

What’s the test for trichomoniasis?

In a sexual health clinic, the healthcare professional will usually examine the area for symptoms, then take a vaginal swab for women, and either a swab of the penis or a urine sample for men. (7)

The home test involves taking either a vaginal swab for women, or a urine sample for men.

What’s the home treatment for trichomoniasis?

The treatment is a course of an antibiotic called metronidazole, either taken as a 2g single dose or as a five-day course. (8)

Is the home treatment for trichomoniasis the same as I would get at a clinic?

Yes. Sexual health clinics, GPs and online pharmacies all follow the same guidelines.

Genital herpes

What’s the test for genital herpes?

Testing is undertaken in a sexual health clinic or GP surgery. It involves taking a swab of a genital sore. If no sores are present, the test can’t be carried out. (9)

What’s the home treatment for genital herpes?

Treatment does not cure genital herpes, but it can help to clear up an outbreak of sores. A five-day course of an antiviral, either aciclovir or valaciclovir, is taken. (9)

Is the home treatment for genital herpes the same as I would get at a clinic?

Yes. Sexual health clinics, GPs and online pharmacies all follow the same guidelines.

Genital warts

What’s the test for genital warts?

Testing for genital warts is done at a sexual health clinic or at your GP surgery. Diagnosis is in the form of an examination of the area. (10)

What’s the home treatment for genital warts?

Imiquimod (Aldara) cream can be used for any type of external genital warts – soft or hard, and in the genital or anal area. It is applied three times weekly for several weeks until warts have cleared. (11)

Podophyllotoxin (Warticon) is an alternative that comes as a cream or a topical solution. It can only be used on external soft warts of the genital area. It is applied for three consecutive days each week for a total of four weeks. (11)

Is the home treatment for genital warts the same as I would get at a clinic?

It depends on several factors, including how big your warts are and where they are positioned. A doctor or nurse may freeze, cut, burn or laser the warts off if topical treatments aren’t suitable or haven’t worked. (10)

How quickly can I get a test kit delivered?

If you order before 4pm Monday to Friday, then your test kit will be delivered the next working day by tracked delivery. The packaging is very discreet with no mention of the contents or who it’s from.

How quickly will I receive my test results?

The time taken for test results varies according to the test ordered.

For HIV lab tests we receive the results within 24 hours of the lab receiving your test sample.

For most other tests we receive results within 48 hours of the lab receiving your test sample.

What are the advantages of ordering online?

The advantages of ordering from us at Webmed Pharmacy are that you can order and test in the comfort of your own home at a time that is most suitable to you and receive your test results much quicker than you would from a sexual health clinic. It also saves the embarrassment of having to attend a clinic if you can still find one that’s near to where you live or work with all the recent cut-backs.  

References

  1. British Medical Association. Feeling the squeeze: The local impact of cuts to public health budgets in England [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/collective%20voice/policy%20research/public%20and%20population%20health/public-health-budgets-feeling-the-squeeze-briefing-march-2018.pdf?la=en

  2. NHS. Visiting an STI clinic [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/visiting-an-sti-clinic/

  3. NHS. Chlamydia – Diagnosis [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chlamydia/diagnosis/

  4. NHS. Chlamydia - Treatment [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chlamydia/treatment/

  5. NHS. Gonorrhoea – Diagnosis [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gonorrhoea/diagnosis/

  6. NHS. Gonorrhoea – Treatment [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gonorrhoea/treatment/

  7. NHS. Trichomoniasis [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichomoniasis/diagnosis/

  8. NHS. Trichomoniasis – Treatment [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichomoniasis/treatment/

  9. NHS. Genital herpes [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-herpes/

  10. NHS. Genital warts [cited 9 October 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-warts/

  11. British National Formulary (version 2.1.23) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from: www.bnf.org

    Author
    Gabby Gallagher MPharm

    Medically reviewed by
    Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons) MRPharmS
     6th November 2019

STD testing experience

Posted 25 July 2019 in Sexual Health

Our returning guest blogger Hanna, 35, today talks about her experience getting STI tested.

A couple in bed looking stressed. Source: Shutterstock 259619195Well I never thought my last boyfriend and I were destined to be together forever, but we’d fallen into a comfy routine of watching box sets whilst eating take away. Plus, we’d both reached our mid-thirties and were cohabitating in relative contentment; or so I thought…

When I found out that his ‘work’ nights out were a string of one-night Tinder hook ups I suddenly had that dread that he’d left me with more than just the outstanding rent; so I started looking online for ways I could get tested, sharpish, and without anyone finding out.

It’s a mine field. The local G.U.M. (Genito-Urinary Medicine; and yes, I had to look it up) clinics open no longer than three hours at a time and the slots that are by appointment only are notoriously difficult to call through and get booked on to. I looked at the NHS home test kit, but due to a staff back log it would take 14 days to send me a kit out and then I wouldn’t get the results for 3-4 weeks. Well, the thought of what I could potentially be harbouring in my nether regions meant that I wanted results in days, not weeks, and certainly not over a month – so I tootled off to my local walk-in clinic.

Well it wasn’t the best start to the day as I had to take last minute half-day holiday as I couldn’t get in before 08:30 (my actual office start time) and I had no idea how long I’d be waiting there. I should be spending my half day holidays in a beer garden, not needing a beer by 10:30. To give the clinic its dues, the place was clean and the staff were very polite. I was the oldest in there by a fair age gap and was by far the most conspicuously fidgety but realised that college students don’t have to explain to their sixty-year-old male boss that they need between 1-3 hours for a personal issue.

Two and a half hours later I was on my way with the promise of the results being texted to me sometime in the next couple of weeks. I’ve never been so anxious about every text I received in that time.

A month later in the pub, after a few wines for courage, I admitted all this to my best friend. She then told me I could get a test kit delivered straight to my home, next day delivery and the results within a week – all for less than we spent in the pub that night. No stress, no time-off, no-one would know. No contest, right? Well I’m actually hoping for no knob-head boyfriends in future…

Want discreet home testing with quick results? Get your home test kit here; delivered within 24 hours* in discreet packaging. Safe, secure, sorted.

*to mainland UK

Genital warts treatment now available from Webmed Pharmacy

Posted 2 July 2019 in Sexual Health

What are genital warts?

HPV. Source: medicalimages.comGenital warts is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections – in fact, in England, the only STI that is more common is chlamydia. Genital warts are caused by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), a large group of viruses which mainly affect the skin. Other strains of HPV are responsible for warts and verrucae found on the hands and feet, plane warts which are usually found on the face, and changes in cells which may lead to development of cancer – most commonly of the cervix. (1, 2, 3)

Genital warts can be unsightly, embarrassing and can cause irritating symptoms, including itchiness, inflammation and disruption of flow of urine, depending on the area affected. Fortunately, they are harmless, they don’t lead to any serious conditions such as cancer, and they are not known to affect fertility. There is no cure – once you have caught the virus, you will have it for life. However, it is possible for your body to eventually clear the warts in time, and there are also treatments available to help with this. (1, 4)

How do you catch genital warts?

You don’t need to have penetrative sex to contract genital warts – the skin of your groin area coming into contact with the skin of the groin area of an infected person can be all it takes to pass the virus on. Sharing sex toys can also lead to infection. Using condoms during sexual activity is highly recommended to reduce the chance of transmission, but since genital warts can affect the surrounding areas and upper thighs, infection can still occur. However, don’t forget that condoms are a highly effective barrier against other STIs, so unless you know for sure that you and your partner are clear, you should be using them regardless! (4)

I think I might have genital warts, what can I do?

If you think you might have genital warts, you can visit your GP or a sexual health clinic for a diagnosis. They appear as painless lumps on the vulva, penis, anus or surrounding areas, and can even be found on the upper thighs. The warts can sometimes become itchy and inflamed, and if warts are present inside the urethra (in men or women), the vagina or the anus, this can lead to bleeding from these areas. Warts inside the urethra can also cause urine to flow at an angle. On the other hand, you can carry the virus without ever having shown any symptoms, or symptoms may develop years after exposure. Despite this, you can still pass the virus on to others through sexual contact. If you have a sexual partner who has genital warts, you should visit a sexual health clinic, even if you don’t have any symptoms yourself. (4)

How are genital warts treated?

Treatment for genital warts is prescription only. Don’t use treatments for warts and verrucae, such as salicylic acid gel, found in pharmacies and some shops to treat your genital warts – they are not designed for this purpose and will irritate and damage the sensitive skin of your genital area. (1)

Topical treatments (liquids and creams) which can be prescribed to treat genital warts include podophyllotoxin, a liquid that is applied to the warts with an applicator stick or as a cream. As the name suggests, it is toxic to the warts and works by killing the cells. It is applied in ‘cycles’ of three days followed by four treatment-free days. In most cases, warts will disappear after four or five cycles. At Webmed Pharmacy we supply it under the brand name Warticon. It can be used for soft genital warts. (5)

Imiquimod (Aldara) is a cream which is applied to larger warts three times a week and left for six to ten hours before being washed off. It encourages your immune system to fight off the virus that causes the warts. Warts should begin to clear up within a few weeks. Aldara can be used for both hard and soft warts not only on the genitals but also those visible in the anal area.  (5)

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is applied to small, hard genital warts once weekly by a healthcare professional at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. It breaks down proteins in the cells of the warts to kill them. Unlike the other topical treatments, it is safe to use in pregnancy. (5)

Genital warts can also be removed using physical ablation:

  • Cryotherapy is a procedure during which warts are frozen using liquid nitrogen, which can cause a sensation of burning. Once the procedure is finished, the skin can take up to three weeks to heal.

  • Excision is surgical removal of warts, often used for harder warts. Once the warts are removed, the area is stitched together and should heal within three weeks.

  • Electrosurgery involves applying a metal loop to a wart, then using an electric current through the loop to burn the wart. Because this procedure can be so painful, general aesthetic is occasionally used.

  • Laser surgery can be used for hard-to-access warts, such as those in the urethra or anus. A laser is used to burn the warts, and as with electrosurgery, this may be performed under general anaesthetic. The area may be painful for up to four weeks after the procedure. (5)

It is important to avoid sexual activity until the area has fully healed. (5)

Can I buy treatment for genital warts from Webmed Pharmacy?

Treatment for genital warts is now available to buy from Webmed Pharmacy. You’ll just need to answer a few questions about your symptoms, health and any other conditions so that the doctor can determine whether the treatment is right for you. If so, as with all of our other tests and treatments, your medication will be posted securely to an address of your choice the following day within a one hour time slot!

References

  1. NHS inform. Genital warts: About genital warts [cited 23 June 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/sexual-and-reproductive/genital-warts

  2. Mayo Clinic. HPV infection: Overview [cited 23 June 2019]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hpv-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20351596

  3. NHS. Warts and verrucas [cited 23 June 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/warts-and-verrucas/

  4. NHS. Genital warts [cited 23 June 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-warts/

  5. NHS inform. Genital warts: Treating genital warts [cited 23 June 2019]. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/sexual-and-reproductive/genital-warts#treating-genital-warts

Author
Gabby Gallaher MPharm

Medically reviewed by
Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons) MRPharmS
2nd July 2019

Festival season is here

Posted 1 July 2019 in Sexual Health

Today’s blog is written by Hanna, a 35 year old single female living in the city; but less Carrie Bradshaw and more Bridget Jones. Hanna will be writing for us from time to time on issues that arise in the modern world of dating, love and life in her 30s; and whilst many of us can relate to what Hanna has experienced, all views are her own.

A festival crowdWell festival season is upon us and those who attended Glastonbury this weekend got very lucky with the weather. Of course with scorching sunshine comes the inevitable festival issues; the stench of the toilets and ending up with your face in your dancing-neighbours sweaty armpit; all rounded off by being boiled alive in a tent at 6am with a killer hangover. Yet still we flock, in the thousands, to watch our favourite artists, create amazing memories and meet a range of new people. Mix this in with some alcohol and the laissez-faire environment created at a festival; it’s inevitable we’re going to want to hook up with that hot one we met at Silver Hayes.

This brings me to a topic I’ve discussed many times with my girlfriends and I can honestly say that the group is 50/50 divided; festival sex, yes or no? Stats show that, on average, 34% of Glastonbury attendees will have some sort of sexual encounter; it’s the most promiscuous music festival in the UK. These liaisons mainly happen in the tents but some brave souls get it on in crowds and I read that some even attempt it in the port-a-potties – I had to read that twice.

Those that are in the yes camp (pun intended) are my more free spirited friends that jump into the festival vibe with gusto from the moment we arrive. I, on the other hand, am firmly in the no camp and whilst that may make me seem uptight; you have not seen me at 7am when I’m sweaty, have no make up on and have scarecrow hair. I wish I could be free-loving and not care about intimate hygiene but as I shower at least once a day at home- you’re at Glasto for four days with only wet wipes. I know you’re thinking, “But surely it’s not that bad as you’d use a condom” and the great thing about Glastonbury is the availability of free condoms, the only single-use plastic that they did allow this year. So each to their own but I’ll abstain for four days, it’s not like I’m not used to it #singlelife

Just returned from Glastonbury and worried you may have contracted an STI? Get your home test kit here - delivered within 24 hours* in discrete packaging. Safe, secure, sorted.

*to mainland UK

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