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What is Shigella? 

Shigella is a bacteria that causes severe stomach upset, diarrhea, cramps and fever, and is often mistaken for food poisoning.  It is passed on through infected faeces (poo) - this can be through contaminated food or sexually, particularly during rimming and oral sex. Shigella infection is related to poor hygiene. Infection can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Men who have sex with men are especially at risk. 


How is Shigella passed on?

Shigella is caused by bacteria found in faeces (poo). Only a tiny amount needs to get into your mouth to pass it on (eg, via your fingers). You can get shigella from rimming and oral sex. Poor personal hygiene is a key factor in relation to infection through sexual contact. 


How do I know I have Shigella? 

Although some people experience no symptoms, Shigella normally causes diarrhea and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start two days after infection and may last up to a week. Symptoms include: 

  • Fever and experiences of nausea and/or vomiting along with stomach cramps
  • In some severe cases diarrhea may contain blood or mucus (this is known as dysentery) 


How can Shigella be treated? 

Shigella can avoided by washing hands and showering before and after sex, avoiding touching sex toys after and during sex without wearing gloves, avoid sharing sharing sex toys , using condoms for anal sex and dental dams for rimming. Avoid sex for at least a week after treatment. Infection can be cured with a course of antibiotics. Drinking plenty of fluids during infection ensures you don’t lose too much water.  


Where can I test for Shigella?

You can get a test for Shigella at your GP or at a range of sexual health clinics (sometimes called GUMs) across Greater Manchester.

Sexual Health testing services in Greater Manchester.

Free and confidential advice and support

Contact a sexual health adviser

The Passionate about Sexual Health (PaSH) Partnership) is a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation. The PaSH Partnership will deliver a comprehensive programme of interventions to meet the changing needs of people newly diagnosed with HIV, living longer term with HIV or at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.

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Free & confidential sexual health services for black and minority communities



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Free and confidential support, advice and advocacy services for people living with HIV



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Providing advice, support and resources for LGBT people to take control of their sexual health and wellbeing