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Fact Sheets

These fact sheets are designed to provide you with information on disease. They are not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of publishing.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria (bugs) that are normally only present in the vagina in small numbers. When these bacteria are present in large numbers they may cause symptoms such as an abnormal discharge or odour. 
Bacterial vaginosis is sometimes called non specific vaginitis or Gardnerella vaginitis. Read more about Bacterial Vaginosis.


This condition, often known as thrush, is caused by an overgrowth of, or an allergic reaction to a yeast called Candida albicans. This yeast is usually found in many areas of the body and is not considered to be a sexually transmissible infection. Candidiasis is very common. A range of factors may possibly trigger an attack of candidiais although often there is no obvious cause. Read more about Candidiasis.


Chlamydia trachomatis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. In males it infects the urethra (tube inside the penis) and in women it infects the urethra and cervix (neck of the womb). It can also infect the rectum and sometimes the eyes and throat. Read more about Chlamydia. 

Emergency contraception

If you have sexual intercourse and you do not use contraception, you may become pregnant. You may also need emergency contraception if you have missed pills or a condom breaks.

Emergency contraception is available from (cost vary, please contact services directly)

Family Planning 0800372546   

Contraception Clinic in ADHB:   0800 527 200 (0800 LARC00)


General Practitioners / Primary Health Care

Youth Services

Community accident and emergency

Sexual Health Clinics

Auckland Sexual Health  - 0800739432


Genital skin

Almost all conditions affecting genital skin will benefit by simple changes to routine skin washing:

  • Avoid soap (use soap substitutes).
  • Keep to short, warm, not hot showers, and bathing. (too hot will increase itch, too long causes more dryness).
  • Plain or salt water (1/4 teaspoon/1 cup or 1-2 teaspoons/litre of warm water). This is especially good if various creams and lotions have irritated the skin.

Read more about genital skin.


Neisseria Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. In males it infects the urethra (tube inside the penis) and in women it infects the urethra and cervix (neck of the womb). It can also infect the rectum and sometimes the eyes and throat. Read more about Gonorrhoea.


Hepatitis is the name given to different illnesses which cause inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis can result from viral infections including Hepatitis A, B and C which can sometimes be sexually transmitted. Information about hepatitis can be found at The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

Information about HIV can be found at the NZ Aids Foundation website

HPV (Genital warts)

Information about Human Papilloma Virus can be found at the NZ HPV Project website

HSV (Herpes)

Information about Herpes Simplex Virus can be found at the NZ Herpes Foundation website


Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a pox virus. It appears as small firm flesh-coloured bumps with waxy white centres. These can appear anywhere on the body but are common on the genital area, thighs or lower abdomen. Because of their appearance they can be confused with genital warts or pimples. Read more about Molluscum.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

PID is the term given to infection of the female reproductive system (the tubes, uterus or womb and ovaries). It is a common and potentially serious complication of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Occasionally PID can occur after certain gynaecological operations. Read more about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice are tiny parasites, which can cause itching in the genital area. The lice use their claws to grab and hang on to pubic hairs while feeding on blood. Read more about Pubic lice.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium (bug) called Treponema pallidum. It enters the body through tiny breaks in the skin- mainly in the genital area or the mouth. Read more about Syphilis.


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a very small parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, called "Trich" for short (sounds like trike). World-wide, it is one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections (STI?s) but it is uncommon in New Zealand. The infection is most commonly diagnosed in sexually active females between 16-35 years. It is caught during sexual contact with an infected person. It can be passed by using sex toys, e.g. vibrators. Read more about Trichomoniasis.


Urethritis affects mainly men and means inflammation of the urethra (the urine and semen passage).The urethra can be affected by various sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most common causes are infection with gonorrhoea and Chlamydia however other bacteria or viruses may be involved. If tests for gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are negative then the urethritis is usually called non-specific (or NSU for short). Read more about Urethritis. 


Yaws is a skin infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum pertenue. Treponema pertenue is not found in New Zealand. Until 1961 it was common in the Pacific islands. Between 1959-1961 people from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Tokelau Islands were given injections of penicillin as part of a special World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign to stop the disease. Yaws has not come back in these islands but people who were born before the WHO campaign may still have signs of past infection in their blood and this can be picked up on a blood test. Today Yaws is still seen occasionally in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. 

Read more about Yaws.