Patients warned about STI treatments found on internet

People with STIs are putting themselves at risk of adverse side effects by buying treatments over the internet instead of visiting their GP, according to UK research.

Earlier this year, GP reported that the use of home tests for chlamydia could be leading patients to wrongly believe they are free from infection.

Speaking exclusively to GP in July Dr Mary Macintosh, the director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, said that ‘GPs should make sure their patients are aware that the tests they buy over the internet are not as good as those they can get for free.’

For this latest study the researchers searched the internet and found a total of 77 treatments from 52 different companies available for STIs like gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

Less than a quarter of the companies were found to have included information on the potential side effects of their treatments and most failed to say if their products would interfere with any prescription medicines.

Additionally, less than a quarter of companies failed to provide advice on how to avoid transmission and becoming re-infected.

Lead researcher Dr Roberto Vivancos, from the school of medicine, health policy and practice at UEA the University of Norwich, said: ‘Using the confidential treatment services provided by the NHS is likely to be far better and cheaper than taking chances on an unproven internet remedy.’

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