Gut Infections

Gut infections are caused by bacteria (e.g. amoebiasis, shigellosis, giardiasis and salmonellosis).


Gut infections are transmitted through:

  • Sexually (when small amounts of infected faeces (shit) get into the mouth from fingers)
  • Consuming food and water that has been in contact with infected faeces.


To avoid gut infections, wash your hands with soap and water after sex, anal play and handling used condoms.

Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing or eating food and drink

Wash your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet.

Signs and Symptoms

In both men and women symptoms can develop up a few hours of exposure and can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps
  • farting
  • nausea
  • fever


Anti-diarrhoea treatments that are available over the counter at a pharmacy are often enough to treat gut infections, but antibiotics can also be used.

Fluid intake needs to be carefully monitored as dehydration can easily occur.

If You’re HIV + and have a gut infection…

Some gut infections can be particularly severe for people living with HIV particularly if they if their CD4 count is low. Nausea and vomiting can also cause problems with antiretroviral medications.