Look after your sexual health on Valentine's Day
The day of romance is upon us, better known as Valentine’s Day. A day that has its roots in a variety of legends that has found its way through the ages to the present day where people now show their love to their ‘valentine’ by giving cards, flowers or chocolates with messages of love. If you are expecting your Valentine’s Day celebrations and the following weekend to lead to passion, especially with an underlying theme of love and desire, it could be worth considering your sexual health not just during this time, but beyond too. If you are not careful, presents and tokens of love may not be the only thing you receive this Valentine’s Day – failing to practice safe sex with condoms and other contraceptive methods could lead to an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You may not be aware but some people who test positive for certain STIs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes may not even show any symptoms at all. Symptoms may not arise for weeks and months, or can temporarily disappear, but you will still be able to transmit the infection to another person. Unfortunately, some STIs such as HIV, genital warts and genital herpes, will forever be in the body once there, but there are some treatments available that can reduce the symptoms and slow the growth of the virus. The widely used Valtrex for genital herpes is just one example. If you have HIV, there are some drugs that can help to slow or prevent the complications that could occur. If STIs are left untreated, they can become extremely painful or uncomfortable, and even lead to long-term problems such as infertility. If you show signs of any of the following symptoms, then you should seek help: . Unusual vaginal discharge. . Discharge from the penis. . Pain and/or bleeding during sexual intercourse. . Bleeding following sex. . Bleeding between periods. . Blisters, itches, lumps or rashes around the genitals or anus. . Pain in the testicles. Chlamydia self-testing Sexually active people should test every year and when they have a new partner. If you think you might have Chlamydia, it's important to get tested quickly, regardless if you are showing symptoms or not. The Clamelle Chlamydia Test Kit can be used in the comfort of your own home and sent off for a quick result. It is also advisable for each partner to be tested. Antibiotic Chlamydia treatment Over 95% of people with chlamydia can be cured providing they take antibiotics correctly. There are two antibiotics commonly prescribed for chlamydia treatment, these being a single dose of the azithromycin or doxycycline taken for one week.