Category: Pillow Talk

A focus on: Gonorrhoea


Gonorrhoea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause serious health problems such as infertility in both men and women. We’ve compiled all you need to know about this nasty STD!


Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria which are found mainly in the vaginal fluids and semen of men and women who have the infection. It is passed on by sexual contact with an infected person, and the bacteria can live inside the cells of the cervix, the urethra, the rectum, the throat and sometimes the eyes. If the bacteria reaches the eye this can cause conjunctivitis, however it is uncommon in adults.

Signs & Symptoms


  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Lower abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Rarely bleeding between periods or heavier periods
  • Infection in rectum
  • Infection in throat
  • Infection in the eyes


  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain or tenderness in testicles

How do I know if I have Gonorrhoea?

The only way to be certain you have gonorrhoea is if you have a test. If you think you may have caught the infection it is important that you get tested as soon as possible.

There are various reasons you should get tested:

  • You have symptoms
  • You have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner
  • You or your partner have had unprotected sex with other partners
  • A sexual partner tells you they have an STI
  • You have another STI
  • You are pregnant or planning a pregnancy

Even if your partner has tested negative – it is still possible that you could have gonorrhoea. So don’t rely on your partners result. If you have gonorrhoea it is recommended to test for other sexually transmitted infections as you can have more than 1 at the same time. This is why Confidante test for the 10 most common STI’s, to give you better peace of mind.


The treatment is 95% effective, this is done by taking antibiotics. It can involve having an antibiotic injection and a single dose of tablets. Not everyone who has gonorrhoea has complications. However, without effective treatment can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have had gonorrhoea, the more likely you are to have complications with the infection.

In women, gonorrhoea can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility and ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy develops outside the uterus.) In men, it can cause a painful infection in the testicles and possible reduce fertility. Less typically, gonorrhoea can cause inflammation of the joints and tendons, and skin lesions.

Get your Confidante test today and be confidant that you don’t have gonorrhoea. Contact a member of our team for more information, Here!

Everything you need to know about Chlamydia

confidante-pillow-talk-chlamydiaThe prevalence of STDs is increasing, so it is important that sexually active men and women know how to protect themselves from infection. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial infection in the UK, and so it is important to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms.

Chlamydia can be difficult to diagnose and treat because often the symptoms are mild. It is known as the “silent disease”, and can cause a number of serious health complications if left undetected and treated.


Chlamydia is an STD caused by the bacteria, Chlamyida trachomatis. The STD can infect the rectum, vagina, or penis, and may also cause infections of the throat and eyes. Symptoms of the disease tend to be mild or non-existent, however, complications can be serious if treatment is not received. Effective treatment to help manage the infection is available, and typically includes some form of antibiotic.


The STI is contracted through sexual activity with an infected partner. The chlamydia bacteria are found in the semen and vaginal fluid of those infected with the illness. This fluid can be exchanged during:

  • vaginal intercourse
  • oral intercourse
  • anal intercourse

Pregnant women who are infected with Chlamydia can actually pass the disease along to their child during labour and delivery.


Anyone sexually active is at some risk for getting chlamydia. This risk can be increased however if you:

  • do not test regularly for STDs
  • engage in unprotected sex
  • have numerous sex partners
  • already have syphilis, gonorrhoea or HIV


Symptoms of Chlamydia can be very subtle. Up to 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men show no symptoms of the disease. If symptoms do develop, they tend to do so within 3 weeks of being infected.

Symptoms for Men

  • white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis
  • pain, discomfort or a ‘burning sensation’ during urination
  • itching around the tip of the penis
  • inflammation, tenderness and pain in and around the testicles

Symptoms of chlamydia in women include:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge
  • abdominal pain
  • pain during intercourse
  • burning during urination
  • feelings of urinary urgency


Chlamydia can cause serious health issues in both men and women if left untreated.

Women are more likely to experience complications. If Chlamydia spreads to the reproductive organs, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can occur. More than 40% of women with Chlamydia develop PID.  It can cause scarring of the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can interefere with fertilization and pregnancy. Furthermore, PID can increase a woman’s risk of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside the womb.)

During pregnancy is when Chlamydia can be particularly dangerous. It can be passed on during labour and delivery causing serious eye infections and pneumonia. Chlamydia can also increase your chance of having a preterm delivery.

Health risks as a result of the infection are less common in men, but can include infection of the epididymis, a tightly coiled tube that lies behind the testes. Although rare, this infection can lead to sterility.

Chlamydia infection increases your risk of gonorrhoea. It’s common for these STI’s to occur together, which is why Confidante STI home kit tests for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea amongst 8 other common STI’s.


It is typically treated with a course of antibiotics. Pregnant women will be given additional antibiotics to prevent transmitting the disease onto their child. To avoid reinfection, it is vital that any sexual partners receive treatment for the illness as well.


Here are the best tips to preventing Chlamydia:

  • Always use a condom when participating in sexual activity
  • Limit your number of sex partners
  • Test yourself for STIs with Confidante and encourage your sexual partners to do so too
  • Get treatment immediately if you discover you have the infection, and notify your sexual partners

Top 10 Tips for Men’s Sexual Health

Most of us want to be healthy, and so we try to watch wTop 10 Tips for Men's Sexual Healthhat we eat, exercise and manage stress. But not many of us know that we can take care of our sexual health, and prevent problems before they occur.

Here are 10 tips for men to keep in mind for maximum sexual health:

1. Eat a healthy diet

Eating healthy foods that are rich in nutrients and low in fats keeps your ‘sexual’ system in good working order. Fruit and vegetables, lean cuts of meat, whole grains and low-fat milk should be in your diet.

2.  Exercise regularly

Lack of exercise can create sexual problems. You should undertake regular exercise, including walking, cycling, tennis or whatever you find enjoyable.

3. Stop smoking  

Studies have found that a majority of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are smokers. They also discovered that smoking can reduce sperm count and quality. Stop smoking to benefit your sexual health as well as your general health.

4. Reduce your alcohol intake

While you may enjoy the buzz you feel when you drink alcoholic beverages, you are putting yourself at risk for ED.  Alcohol may make you feel sexier by lowering inhibitions, but it also reduces libido, causes erection problems, and often times impairs the ability to have an orgasm.

5. Manage stress in your life

Everyone knows that stress can have you feeling exhausted, worried and nervous, but did you know it can also lead to sexual problems? If you allow stress to manage your life, you will soon feel as if it is out of control. Practice stress management techniques, find ways to handle anger and sadness, and you will be doing your part to maintain your sexual health.

6. Do Kegel exercises

Usually associated with women, Kegel exercises can increase sexual enjoyment in mes as well.  Kegels are a way to strengthen the muscles that connect the base of the penis with the tailbone.  These muscles act to control the flow of fluids through the urethra, so by learning how to control them, you can delay ejaculation to heighten your orgasm.  To learn how these muscles feel, try stopping the flow of urine the next time you urinate.  These are the muscles you need to tighten, so to do Kegels, just squeeze the muscles, hold them for a few seconds, and then relax them.  By contracting these muscles, you gradually build up their strength.

7. Use lubricants

Men often experience a gradual loss of sensitivity as they grow older. Lubricants can help men with this problem to gain a freer range of motion, and increase sexual enjoyment.

8. Have a yearly visit with your doctor

It is no secret that men do not like going to the doctor, but if you want to maintain your overall (and sexual) health, you should make sure that you have a check-up at least once a year.

9. Avoid illegal substances

Some men will take illegal drugs to get high, thinking that it will enhance their sexual experience.  But it most cases, it has the opposite effect.  If you want to avoid ED, then avoid illegal substances.

10. Have a positive attitude

Medical studies prove that men who have a positive attitude towards life also enjoy a problem free sex life as well.  So, adjust your attitude to a positive one, and enjoy the benefits!

For more information on how Confidante works, click HERE.

Rise in STIs: Syphilis & Gonorrhoea

Confidante Pillow Talk Image 1

Public Health England data has shown that between 2012 and 2015, cases of syphilis increased from 3,001 to 5,288 – a staggering 76%. Gonorrhoea infections grew by 53%, up to 41,193 from 26,880. The rise was most prominent among men who have sex with men. The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV have said that this continued rise of gonorrhoea is extremely disturbing.

Most commonly diagnosed STI

The most commonly diagnosed STI was chlamydia, which accounted for approximately half of the cases diagnosed in 2015.
As a whole, rates of sexually transmitted infections went down slightly, totalling 434,456. Experts point out, however, that this could be as a result of less people getting tested. Only 32% of young women and 13% of young men were tested in 2015, despite routinely offered chlamydia screenings.

Could this be due to the stigma associated with Sexually Transmitted Infections and getting tested?

No need to visit a GUM clinic

Simple, accurate, confidential and comprehensive –there is no need to visit a GUM or sexual health clinic. Confidante allows you to test for 10 STI’s including syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

“These statistics highlight the importance and need for regular STI testing. The discreet and private nature of our Confidante STI kit make it the obvious choice.” – Stuart Penrose, Randox Global Marketing Manager

Look after your sexual health & take the Confidante STI test today.


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – the silent, sometimes unseen infections that are spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can include bacteria, viruses or parasites.  For example, chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is found in sexual fluids in males and females.  Most people who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms and therefore do not know they have it unless they get tested.  It can be successfully treated with antibiotics but if left undiagnosed it can lead to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy in women and fertility problems in men.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

The number of recorded cases of STIs is steadily rising and while there is a greater awareness and knowledge of testing for these conditions, the spread of STIs in younger adults is increasing as they are less likely to use protection and have multiple sexual partners.

Most sexually transmitted infections have an incubation period when the person has the infection but even when tested will not show up, this varies from days to weeks to months and it is recommended that a person waits at least two weeks from their last sexual encounter before they are tested.

How do you know you have an STI?

In many cases if you have no STI symptoms you will not know you have an STI so you need to be tested to be sure.  For others there are obvious symptoms that will tell you something is not right, these can include; rashes or itchiness in the genital area, a discharge from the penis or vagina, pain when going to the loo or having sex and lumps or sores.

If you have ever had unprotected sex you should really have an STI test.  If you think you may have an infection the best way to get the right diagnosis and treatment to take a sexual health test.

If your worried about Sexually Transmitted Infections contact our team or read more about confidante!

Have you and your partner been tested for STIs? Be safe and #TakeTheTest before starting a family

Have you and your partner been tested? A lot of us think that STIs don’t apply to us and never will. We’re “too clean”, “haven’t had enough sexual partners”, or “aren’t ‘sleazy’ enough”. When in fact, the most hygienic, and ‘un-sleazy’ person can become infected with an STI after partaking in a single sexual act – even if it’s their first!

Sexual health is crucially important and something that we should all keep on top of, but never is your sexual health more imperative than when the time comes to start a family and you are no longer the only one at risk. Many STIs can pose a serious threat to your baby’s health during development, delivery, and even after birth. Taking this into consideration, plus the fact that many STIs are symptom-free, it’s time to #TakeTheTest if you’re planning on starting a family.


Chlamydia is one of the better known STIs, yet many people don’t understand the risks it presents during pregnancy. New-borns who are exposed to chlamydia are at risk of serious eye infections and pneumonia. Even more worryingly, the possibility of a miscarriage and premature delivery is increased significantly.


A very common STI, gonorrhoea symptoms, can cause vaginal discharge, burning while passing urine, and abdominal pain if present during pregnancy. Similar to the risks associated with chlamydia, the chance of a mother miscarrying or having a preterm delivery is higher with an untreated gonorrhoea infection present. What’s more, an active infection during child birth can result in the baby developing blindness, joint infection, or a life threatening blood infection.


Syphilis is harder to identify than other STIs, diagnosed most effectively using a swab from a sore or blister instead of a urine sample, and is easily passed from a mother to her unborn child. Infants can be premature and victim to a serious infection that can be fatal. If those risks weren’t bone-chilling enough – new-borns that survive syphilis often develop problems in various organs including their brain, heart, and eyes.


Herpes infections differ in that they are relatively risk free until labour. Contact between mother and baby during delivery however can pass the incurable STI onto the new-born. As a result, many women infected with herpes have a caesarean section to prevent the risk of transmission.

The Randox Confidante home STI test kit allows you and your partner to safeguard your unborn baby from the comfort of your own home; testing simultaneously for 10 STIs, including both the above common infections and those that are less well known. When your STI test kit arrives, collect a urine/swab sample, post your samples back using the pre-paid envelopes provided, and receive your confidential results within 7 days.


If your worreid abourt your seual health or your partner is, get confidante so you’ll know that your safe because been tested, don’t let the question have you and your partner been tested hang over you!

Sexually transmitted infections in men who have sex with men (MSM) at ‘crisis level’

MSM: STI rates among men who have sex with men continue to increase across the UK despite campaigns by health authorities to tackle the increase. The latest available figures show that in England during 2012 there were 36,000 new diagnoses of STIs in MSM, including more than 10,000 cases of gonorrhoea. Worryingly, one of the UK’s leading GUM clinicians; Dr Wallace Dinsmore says this is just the tip of the iceberg: “We have evidence to suggest that the 850,000 MSM in the UK are at greater risk of infection than other groups. Not only is gonorrhoea increasing among MSM, syphilis is also a significant problem and these statistics which are from two years ago, do not represent the true scale of the problem we face today.”

The rise in STIs among men who have sex with men was described as at ‘crisis levels’ ahead of a specially convened meeting of UK sexual health experts in London. During the Valentine’s Day conference, which was organised by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV(BASSH), medics discussed the paradox that; increased infection rates of STIs could be because of the increasingly successful treatments available for HIV, as Dr Martin Crockard from Confidante explains: “The progress in HIV drugs has been nothing short of dramatic, but unfortunately more men are having unprotected sex because they feel they don’t have to shield themselves from the virus – other STIs are then spread. Testing is the key to detection and ultimately to prevention and is especially important because STIs like gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia are predominately asymptomatic. This is indeed becoming a public health crisis.”

The ‘crisis’ goes hand-in-hand with the low uptake of sexual health testing by men who have sex with men. According to a recent survey by BASSH, more than a quarter of gay and bisexual men have never been tested. A spokesman for the association says that following last month’s meeting its experts are working on a recommendation paper in order to encourage more men to get tested: “MSM who do not present for STI testing are significantly more likely to be unaware that they have an infection, and therefore represent a much greater risk of onward transmission – a clear public health concern.” MSM seeking STI testing can now do so in the privacy of their own home, with the new Confidante Home STI Testing Kit – the available over the counter product to detect 10 of the most common STIs, from just one sample

Don’t dull-down your Golden Years…STIs on the up in the elderly

STIs on the up in the elderly: Retirement homes, nursing homes and assisted living communities. Images that spring to mind include playing bingo, ballroom dancing and puzzles strewn about a table. But, perhaps surprisingly, sex – unsafe sex – is on a lot of people’s minds. The US Department of Health and Human Services has released figures from 2011 and 2012 showing that over 2.2 million Medicare beneficiaries underwent sexually transmitted infection screenings and counselling sessions.

The CDC has also shown that between 2007 and 2011, the amount of chlamydia infections in over 65s had risen by 31% and by 52% in syphilis infections. The numbers are in a similar vein to the 20-24 year old age group, where chlamydia rates increased by 35% and syphilis by 64%. There is a similar story in the UK, where an increasing number of middle-aged and elderly individuals contracting STIs has been attributed in part to: a high divorce rate, and the availability of drugs to assist male sexual performance. Some other factors which are thought to be behind the rise of STIs in elderly populations include:

  • Retirement communities becoming more like university campuses – by having many people of the same age living together, relationships will naturally occur.
  • People are living longer and are in better health, therefore remaining sexually active for longer.
  • Whilst they may be having more sex, they are not necessarily having safe sex. They don’t need to worry about pregnancy and only 6% of those aged over 60 use a condom.

With statistics like these, it falls to reason that STI testing should be more prevalent in elderly health screenings.

Whilst they are willing to have regular, unprotected sex, they may not be as open to talking about their sexual health with doctors. A larger campaign, raising awareness of the risks of STIs amongst the elderly, could help address this issue.

Confidante, a home STI test kit which tests for 10 of the most common STIs, would help alleviate the problem. By being able to receive your results quickly, and most importantly, in confidence, the elderly are maintaining their independence and preserving their sexual health. Confidante STI Test is available for purchase in the UK and Ireland.

Safe sex message urged ahead of this year’s Belfast Pride Festival

Safe Sex: Sexual health experts are supporting Belfast Pride, to make sure that everyone taking part in this year’s festival; ‘plays safe and stays safe’. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at particular risk of sexually transmitted infections; latest available statistics from the Department of Health reveal that rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis in Northern Ireland’s MSM community continue to soar.

To tackle the problem, Belfast Pride has teamed up with Confidante STI Test, who have developed the world’s only home test, to detect 10 common STIs. Stephen Henderson, Manager at Confidante STI Test, says partnering with Belfast Pride, is about encouraging men who have sex with men to take action:

“One of the reasons that men who have sex with men, have such high STI transmission rates, is because they don’t get tested; perhaps they’ve had a bad experience previously; or perhaps they aren’t showing any symptoms – even though they are infected; many STIs are asymptomatic. We are encouraging MSM and everyone taking part in Belfast Pride to be proud of their sexual health, protect both their partner and themselves and to get tested.”

Seán Ó Néill, Chair of Belfast Pride Festival, is supporting this focus on Sexual Health:

“This year’s festival is about celebrating Diversity and calling for Equality – and this equality is needed within healthcare services for all citizens including LGBTQ people. We are pleased Confidante STI Test is coming on board as a partner of the festival and offering more choice in Sexual Health testing and we are working with them to get the message across to the MSM community in Northern Ireland, in particular, to play safe and stay safe”.

The safe sexual health message comes ahead of the launch of this year’s Belfast Pride, at Belfast City Hall this evening (Friday), the launch will be followed by the eagerly anticipated Pride Awards hosted by Barra Best and comedian Gemma Hutton.

STIs amongst women who have sex with women (WSW)

WSW – Women who have sex with women (WSW) are a diverse group of individuals in society; with variations in sexual identity, behaviours, practices & risk behaviours. The world of sexual health risks amongst this group however, is poorly understood.

Studies have shown WSW are at particular risk of viral & bacterial STIs, including Chlamydia, Syphilis & Herpes Virus Type 1 & Type 2. These STIs can be caught when exchanging bodily fluids & such transmission is possible amongst this diverse group.

In addition to this, there were 1,713 cases of diagnosed STIs amongst WSW in 2012. Such figures should not be ignored, & for that reason women who have sex with women should be evaluated & presented in the same way as women who have male-only partners.

Many WSW believe they are at low or no risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yet according to the facts, this is far from the truth. In reality, women who have sex with women are at a similar, although slightly lower, risk of STIs as heterosexual women, & therefore it is very important to get tested. The worry here however is that women who have sex with women are known to access the healthcare system less frequently compared to heterosexual women.

Despite this lack of knowledge amongst these women, they are not entirely to blame when it comes to obtaining the correct facts and figures in terms of their sexual health. It is indeed difficult for WSW to obtain information on sexual health which is directly relevant to their sexual orientations. The main reason for this is the obvious social & institutional barriers that WSW face when they are trying to access healthcare. A surprising 75% of WSW delayed obtaining healthcare for reasons including the stigma attached. The confidentiality & anonymous nature of Confidante provides a solution to this.

Confidante STI Test is the first over the counter product that allows consumers to take control of their sexual health in the privacy of their own home. We provide a solution to this problem of social & institutional barriers, taking the embarrassing aspect out of the equation. Our discreet, home STI test kit can be carried out at home, in private, in 4 easy steps:

  1. Order online/purchase in store pharmacies
  2. Collect the sample
  3. Post back
  4. Receive results (within 7 days).

Look after your sexual health & take the Confidante STI test today.

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