Holiday sex could lead to an even bigger rise in STIs
As we enter summer and temperatures in the UK and especially in many other areas around the world begin to climb, thousands of holidaymakers will no doubt be venturing overseas to enjoy the sunshine. However, within the carefree spirit that often accompanies holidays abroad, there is plenty of alcohol intake and a slightly reckless attitude in regards to safe sex and sexual health. The holiday season is always a notorious period for people aged between 18 to 30 to jet off abroad with friends and heavy drinking leads to less inhibitions, less regards for contraception and more casual sex. This all means that there is a high risk of contracting any of a number of dangerous sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Often people drink high quantities of alcohol on holiday and let their guard down to some degree, doing things then wouldn’t think of doing when at home – and this needs to stop. It must be worth bearing in mind that in certain countries compared to others, STIs could be extremely common and obviously this puts you at even more at risk than you would be back at home. Symptoms of STIs can include: . Unusual discharge from your penis, vagina or anus. . A pain or burning feeling when urinating. . Itching, blisters, sores or lumps on or around the genitals. . Pain when urinating. . For women, bleeding between periods and/or after sex. Many will experience symptoms of an STI around two weeks after they return from holiday but worryingly with one of the most prevalent STIs – chlamydia - most don’t know they have 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. It is this week, and at the beginning of summer, that health officials have decided to release stark warnings about the increase of diagnoses of STIs; with new cases rising to almost half a million in England and perhaps unsurprisingly, the under-25s are guilty of the highest rates. The new information has been released by Public Health England (PHE), who says that during 2012 there were 448,422 diagnoses – an increase of 5% from the previous year. Chlamydia was the most common infection at 46%, new gonorrhoea diagnoses have risen to 21%, and health officials are alarmed by the rises. Lisa Power, policy director for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a sexual health charity, said: “Everyone knows about STIs but still think it won't happen to them. We've learned to associate being unwell with having symptoms, and if people don't have symptoms, they think they are fine. Then 20 years down the line, a woman with chlamydia might find her tubes are blocked, or someone with syphilis might end up with dementia. What we are worried about is that sexual health has been handed to the local authorities and we've already seen cutbacks.” If you believe you may have contracted an STI, it is vital you see your GP or visit a sexual health clinic to get tested as soon as possible and if the infection isn’t treated, this could lead to more serious health problems such as infertility. Alternatively, Medically Specialists Pharmacy offer the Clamelle chlamydia test kit for just £24.85 which can be used in the privacy and comfort of your own home to prevent an embarrassing visit to your GP or GUM clinic and there is no need to take any time off work. Once ordered, we will post the test kit to you, which you can use to check yourself. Take a quick urine sample and post the sample to the laboratory in the envelope provided, and the result is posted or emailed back to you by the laboratory a few days later. Or, if you have been confirmed as having this or gonorrhoea, the antibiotic Azithromycin can prevent the spread of the bacteria so that your body’s natural defences can fight back and remove the infection from your system. We also have the medication Valtrex working out as costing just £3.50 per tablet, which helps to slow the spread of the herpes virus.