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    Most googled STI symptoms

    On this page
    1. Recent STI data for England
    2. Which places are searching for STIs rather than being diagnosed for them? 
    3. How much are we googling STIs?
    4. Chlamydia is the most searched AND most diagnosed STI in England
    5. Which STIs should you be looking out for?
    6. Chlamydia
    7. Herpes
    8. Genital Warts
    9. Gonorrhoea
    10. HIV
    11. Why it’s important to get tested regularly
    12. Leave it to the professionals… 

    Reviewed by our clinical team

    The most googled STI symptoms: why ‘Doctor Google’ shouldn’t be the only medical professional you consult

    Ever googled a cure when you’ve noticed something isn’t quite right *down there*? 

    We’re all guilty of turning to the internet to diagnose ourselves in times of trouble. Diagnosing yourself through search engines is one thing, but not seeking a second opinion from a qualified medical professional can be dangerous.

    As many as 59% of the UK google their health symptoms before seeing a doctor. The same study suggests that less than a fifth of people frequently follow up with a doctor after searching for their symptoms online. 

    In recent years we’ve seen an increase in people searching the internet for STI symptoms, which could mean a lot of people are either diagnosing themselves or not seeking the medical help they need. 

    While relying on a search engine is the easy option that can spare some blushes, it’s not definitely not accurate. The only way to truly discover if you’ve got an STI is to get tested.

    In a bid to stop people diagnosing themselves digitally, we decided to find out how much of a role ‘Dr Google’ is playing in the UK to help people self-diagnose and self-treat suspected STIs. 

    Our research showed that England is searching for STI symptoms and treatments at 377 times the rate they’re being diagnosed. This means there’s a high likelihood people are going undiagnosed for various STIs across the country as they rely on Google rather than STI tests.

    Let’s find out more…

    Recent STI data for England

    Using data provided by Public Health England, we can look at which places in England are being diagnosed with the most STIs per 100,000 people

    Cases per 10000 people 
    RankLocationSyphilisGonorrhoeaChlamydia Genital wartsGenital herpesHIVAll STIs
    -England1210128649366490
    1London6453951211037131275
    2Portsmouth149665775539904
    3Brighton and Hove60188460956912884
    4Nottingham1219055972346872
    5Southampton14100600673910830
    6Manchester33183409915415785
    7Leeds611853151398753
    8Liverpool913046560428714
    9Newcastle683393646210617
    10Peterborough1010541347328614
    11Salford24124348673110603
    12Reading1310733684427589
    13Blackpool2410632648745583
    14Derby712736340387583
    15Leicester214934133319563
    16Bristol188134273427562
    17Coventry8107331493610540
    18Middlesbrough276737734303537
    19Bournemouth88031659427512
    20Bedford68134527259493
    21Luton1591313322516493
    22Stoke-on-Trent1412427636373490
    23Plymouth73829086554481
    24Milton Keynes468326251723462
    25Wolverhampton89728136326460
    26Gateshead77528244385451
    27Sunderland56430137244434
    28Birmingham610627125187432
    29York44025574353411
    30Swindon94524263386403
    31Hull86621250514391
    32Slough1286206412712383
    33Sheffield0572871775373
    34Bradford68220833284360
    35Cambridgeshire63824237216350

    Which places are searching for STIs rather than being diagnosed for them? 

    When you compare STI diagnosis data with search data, you begin to realise that we’re searching for STI symptoms and treatments at a much higher rate than they’re being diagnosed. 
    STI map of UK

    Rank

    Location

    Monthly searches for STI symptoms and treatments

    Average STI diagnosis per 100,000 people

    How many more searches than diagnosis?

    Most searched STI

    Most diagnosed STI

    -

    England

    184800

    490

    377.4

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    1

    London

    34480

    1275

    27.0

    Chlamydia

    Gonorrhoea

    2

    Birmingham

    5720

    432

    13.2

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    3

    Manchester

    4060

    785

    5.2

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    4

    Bristol

    2750

    562

    4.9

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    5

    Sheffield

    1790

    373

    4.8

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    6

    Leeds

    3230

    753

    4.3

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    7

    Liverpool

    2980

    714

    4.2

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    8

    Coventry

    1410

    540

    2.6

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    9

    Bradford

    900

    360

    2.5

    HIV

    Chlamydia

    10

    Leicester

    1370

    563

    2.4

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    11

    Newcastle

    1430

    617

    2.3

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    12

    Hull

    880

    391

    2.3

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    13

    Wolverhampton

    890

    460

    1.9

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    14

    Plymouth

    920

    481

    1.9

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    15

    Bournemouth

    930

    512

    1.8

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    16

    Cambridgeshire

    590

    350

    1.7

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    17

    Nottingham

    1450

    872

    1.7

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    18

    Derby

    960

    583

    1.6

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    19

    York

    650

    411

    1.6

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    20

    Sunderland

    640

    434

    1.5

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    21

    Reading

    860

    589

    1.5

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    22

    Stoke-on-Trent

    710

    490

    1.4

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    23

    Swindon

    570

    403

    1.4

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    24

    Salford

    800

    603

    1.3

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    25

    Slough

    490

    383

    1.3

    Gonorrhoea

    Chlamydia

    26

    Bedford

    630

    493

    1.3

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    27

    Milton Keynes

    550

    462

    1.2

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    28

    Gateshead

    460

    451

    1.0

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    29

    Peterborough

    610

    614

    1.0

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    30

    Middlesbrough

    520

    537

    1.0

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    31

    Brighton and Hove

    830

    884

    0.9

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    32

    Southampton

    710

    830

    0.9

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    33

    Portsmouth

    750

    904

    0.8

    Chlamydia

    Chlamydia

    34

    Blackpool

    480

    583

    0.8

    Genital Herpes

    Chlamydia

    35

    Luton

    400

    493

    0.8

    Gonorrhoea

    Chlamydia

    How much are we googling STIs?

    Our study shows that England is searching for STI symptoms and treatments at a rate of 377 times more than they’re being diagnosed.

    We have broken this down in the table below for detailed results on exactly which STIs are being searched for the most in England.

    STI

    Monthly searches for symptoms and treatments

    Average STI diagnosis per 100,000 people

    How many more searches than diagnosis?

    Syphilis

    25800

    12

    2107x

    Gonorrhoea

    28800

    101

    285x

    Chlamydia

    64300

    286

    225x

    Genital warts

    12800

    49

    263x

    Genital herpes

    9000

    36

    248x

    HIV

    44100

    6

    7793x

    As you can see, symptoms and treatments for HIV are being searched for 7793 times more than it’s being diagnosed in England, meaning there is a high potential that people are searching for advice about HIV without seeking help from their doctor.  

    Chlamydia is the most searched AND most diagnosed STI in England

    We looked at the number of times STIs are googled across major cities in England and found that chlamydia is the most searched for STI in the country. Out of 35 cities, it was the most googled in a total of 23 locations. 64,300 people are searching for both the symptoms and treatments for chlamydia every month! 
    Coming in second place for searches was genital herpes, with a total of 9 cities googling the STI the most. While in second place, searches for genital herpes treatments and symptoms are around 9,000 every month in the UK.

    Much like the search results, chlamydia was far and away the most diagnosed STI in England, with 286 people in every 100,000 diagnosed with this sexually transmitted infection across the country. 

    The second most diagnosed STI in England is Gonorrhoea (otherwise known as ‘the clap’) at a rate of 101 in every 100,000. Which again, pales in comparison to the likes of chlamydia. 

    Which STIs should you be looking out for?

    There are a wide range of STIs out there, which can be spread in different ways. That’s why everyone who is sexually active should be taking regular STI tests. Many STIs are now easily treatable, but getting diagnosed early is key. 

    Chlamydia

    As the most common curable STI in the UK, chlamydia doesn’t always have tell-tale symptoms. Men and women can be infected with chlamydia in their throat or bottom (rectum) if they've had unprotected oral or anal sex respectively. And for some rare cases it can result in problems with fertility. Because the symptoms often go unnoticed, it’s even more important that people take tests. 

    Herpes

    Genital herpes is a common STI that causes a recurring rash of red blisters around the genitals. Because it’s caused by the incurable herpes simplex virus, it won’t go away after treatment. You can expect repeated bouts of the symptoms, followed by long periods in which you have no symptoms at all. 

    Spread through skin to skin contact, many sufferers won’t notice they have been exposed to the infection for months or years because the symptoms often go unnoticed at first.

    Genital Warts

    Genital warts are small, fleshy growths or bumps found in the genital or anal area caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)
    Although occasionally sore and itchy, most cases of genital warts are completely harmless and painless. Though they’re not always particularly nice to look at and they can lead to a loss of confidence and anxiety.

    Gonorrhoea

    Also known as ‘the clap’, gonorrhoea can lead to a variety of uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms if not treated. The infection is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex (and shared sex toys if not washed after use). 
    Gonorrhoea is the third most commonly diagnosed STI in England and if left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and painful infections in the testicles and prostate gland in men.

    HIV

    HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, normally over a long period of time, and leaves you unable to fight off infections and disease. There is no cure for HIV but it can be managed very effectively these days if you test regularly and catch it early. If left untreated, however, HIV can develop into AIDS. 
    Mainly spread through unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive, it is estimated there are more than 100,000 people living with HIV in England, and around 6,600 of those people are undiagnosed.

    Why it’s important to get tested regularly

    Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is nothing to be ashamed of – in fact, it’s a really good thing to do for your health. 

    Not only will it help you get diagnosed earlier (which means you can start getting treatment sooner), but it will also protect you from passing on STIs to sexual partners. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it’s important that you get tested regularly to ensure you can continue to have safe sex.

    Unfortunately, lots of people feel embarrassed about talking about their sexual health or going to get tested, which puts them off visiting their GP or local sexual health clinic. 

    If you want to get tested but you’d rather do it from the comfort of your own home, Online Doctor stock safe and reliable home STI kits that you can use at home and post to our lab for testing.

    Leave it to the professionals… 

    Ultimately, Google can do a good job at explaining the symptoms you’re experiencing, but you should never use the search engine to self-diagnose. If you’re worried about something, the best thing to do is seek medical advice and get tested. 

    References

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chlamydia/complications/
    https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/about-hiv/hiv-statistics

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