Bring Back Happy Memories and a Tan from a Summer Holiday - Not an STI
Summer is in full swing, the kids are off school, and that happy, glorious mood is in the air. One that is simply lacking in the cold months of winter. Summertime also usually means thousands of Brits will be flocking overseas to even hotter climates in order to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a party atmosphere, usually fuelled by booze. Sunshine and booze abroad sounds idyllic, however it can lead to some risky behaviour when it comes to sex. Holidays can provide the chance to meet new people, or get much closer to somebody you already know, but remember that it is absolutely vital to still think about sexual health when on holiday. After all, unprotected sex on holiday can have the same catastrophic consequences that it can have at home, namely sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unwanted pregnancies. Protecting one's own sexual health, and that of any potential sexual partner whilst on holiday, is imperative. Don’t forget to pack condoms as STIs aren’t the only reason to use condoms. Sickness and diarrhoea, in addition to certain medicines like anti-malaria tablets, may make the contraceptive pill less effective. It is understandable that a visit to the local pharmacy perhaps isn’t the first thing on people’s minds when arriving to a holiday destination. Moreover, depending on the destination in question, it could be next to impossible to even find a trustworthy supply of genuine condoms. Therefore, prior to any holiday, have a think about what you realistically may or may not get up to as it would possibly be wise to stock up on good quality condoms and important essentials with regards to sex. Some destinations have much higher rates of sexual infections compared to others, meaning the use of contraception is an even bigger must. In particularly, the rates of certain serious sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and syphilis are significantly higher in some countries around the world in comparison to the UK. In fact, the majority of new HIV cases diagnosed amongst heterosexuals were caught overseas. Unfortunately, it’s not usually possible to know if somebody has an STI or HIV simply by looking at said person, so for this reason alone, always wear a condom! Those who forget to pack condoms for their jollies, should only purchase condoms bearing the European CE mark as this is a sign of quality assurance. This means the condoms have been tested to the required safety standards. Exposure to the sun can actually damage the condoms, so it is vital to keep them stored in a cool and dry place. Also, don’t leave them packed closely together with any sun cream, baby lotion, or other oily products that can cause damage. It is also essential to wash hands between rubbing on the sun lotion and handling a condom. At Medical Specialists® Pharmacy we realise that maybe only a small percentage of holidaymakers will be sensible enough to always use condoms when engaging in sexual activities. Anyone that has been careless and engaged in unprotected sex will be putting themselves at risk of infection. Most that do end up displaying STI symptoms will not experience them until about two weeks after returning from holiday. Worryingly, with one of the most prevalent STIs – chlamydia – most infected people will be oblivious to actually having it due to no obvious symptoms. Approximately 50% of men and 70 to 80% of women will not experience any symptoms at all with the infection. Symptoms of STIs can include: . A pain or burning feeling when urinating. . For women, bleeding between periods and/or after sex. . Itching, blisters, sores or lumps on or around the genitals. . Pain when urinating. . Unusual discharge from your penis, vagina or anus. Medical Specialists® Pharmacy provide treatments for many of the more common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes. In addition, Medical Specialists® can provide almost 100% accurate pregnancy tests to be used in the privacy and comfort of a woman’s own home, a wide variety of condoms to suit different preferences, emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill), other contraceptive pills, and the previously mentioned chlamydia test to be taken at home and posted off for a quick analysis and result, avoiding the time and embarrassment of having to personally attend a clinic for a check-up. To obtain any prescription or antibiotic or contraceptive treatment, all patients must first undergo an online consultation with one of the GMC-registered doctors at Medical Specialists®, or send in a private prescription by post, obtained from the patient’s own doctor.