Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been on the rise in the United Kingdom for the past years. 2015 saw several of these illnesses peak, like gonorrhea and syphilis, and there is great concern about all these diseases spreading as well as turning resistant to antibiotics or other treatments.
STIs can have serious consequences, like organ faliure, infertility and even death. AIDS is probably the best known STI, but there are many out there and most are dangerous for you, so you should be careful when having sex.
Now, why do STI cases grow in number year after year? There are many causes but here are some of the most important ones:
|Changing sexual culture||Lack of medical control|
|There is an increasing perceived freedom when it comes to sexuality, and people are more open to engage in sexual behaviours that increase their chances of catching an STI, including partner exchange, man-to-man sex and casual sex encounters. The more people you have sex with, the more chances you have to catch an infection, especially if those people also have many partners; and the more people you will infect in case that you have an STI. Man-to-man sex has been reported as the most risky, especially since anal sex is the main cause of infection in most cases.||In order to reduce the risk to catch and pass STIs, people should undergo routine tests, especially if their sexual life has an increased risk of contagious, as explained in the column before. However, there are few cases when people actually go to a clinic to get tested or checked. There is still a sense of shame about sexuality, especially if it is not conventional - like gay sex or elder people who are sexually active. Other factors like waiting times, busy lives and high cost also discourage people about this.|
|These apps help people find many willing sexual partners and thus get laid very often with different people. This of course increases their chance to catch an STI, especially if they don't take measures to protect themselves - and their partners - from the infections, like using condoms and dental dams.||Young people are among those who catch STIs more often, and one of the causes is that they don't know how to be safe with sex. There are things they do that are risky but they ignore it, so they don't take measures necessary to stop the spread of STIs.|
All of those are a direct contribution to a trend that is currently observed among the UK population: a big rise in STIs transmitted orally. Few people are aware of the importance of using condoms or dental dams when having oral sex, because they think penetration is the only way they can catch an infection. According to a report by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, lots of new cases of STIs have been found in the last months and many of them are passed throguh oral sex. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are among the most common ones. You can read more about the story here.
Gonorrhea is dangerous because it often has no symptoms, and when it does, they can be confused with other affections or even dismissed. They include pain, discharges and discomfort in the affected area. When gonorrhea is caught through oral sex, the bacteria are held in the throat and they cause no symptoms, but they can be passed to others through fellation. You can find more gonorrhoea information here.
Chlamydia is another STI that is very common in the UK population, especially in risk groups like people under 25, men who have se with men and people who have several sexual partners. Chlamydia also has no symptoms in most cases, and when it does, they appear several weeks after the infection, sometimes when the damage is already done. The symptoms are very similar to those of gonorrhea. Chlamydia is easy to treat, but if left untreated it can be very harmful to women. A chlamydia infection may cause a disease called PID, which can damage the inner genitalia, cause infertility and even death. Check this link for a summary of chlamydia management options.
It is very important that you get sexual health checks anually if you are at increased risk of having an STI. In case that you turn out possitive, you should immediately tell all your recent sexual partners so they can get tested too, in case that they had passed it to you, or vice versa. We suggest that you check this website for an extensive range of STI tests online.
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