Sexual Health – Do you know about yours?
The most recent data for the UK tells us that in 2015 there were 434,456 new STI diagnoses. We know that young people aged between 15 and 24 are more likely to be diagnosed with an STI than older groups. Young people from this group accounted for 62% of those with chlamydia, 52% of those with gonorrhoea, 51% of those with genital herpes and 41% of those with genital warts.
This does not mean that those of you of a more mature age are off the hook!….
If you are in the more mature age group it may be a surprise to know that 28,113 new STI diagnoses were made in the 45-65 year old age group! and remember this is only the number that have attended screening and obtained a diagnoses. There will be many more cases unaccounted for.
Why is it so important to know about your sexual health? If you have no symptoms it does not mean that you are definitely clear! Unfortunately, many people do not realise this.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI diagnosed in the UK. However, around 70% of females and 50% of males who are infected will have no obvious signs/symptoms or they could be so mild that they go unnoticed.
Gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial STI, symptoms are more noticeable in men, whilst women often have no symptoms at all.
What are the risks of untreated Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea?
Both of these bacterial infections if left untreated can spread to the fallopian tubes in women causing pelvic inflammatory disease, leading to sepsis and/or infertility. The damage and scarring caused to the fallopian tubes also increases the risk of a life threatening condition called ectopic pregnancy – where a fertilised ovum implants in the fallopian tube, as the pregnancy develops and grows this will cause a rupture leading to death.
This highlights the importance of regular screening, especially after new sexual partners or unprotected sexual activity with those who you don’t know the STI status of. Many of us however, do not relish the thought of sitting in a sexual health clinic waiting area and this deters many people from attending screening.
So, is it possible to get screened in a more discreet and comfortable way? – YES *thumbs up*
If you prefer not to attend a sexual health clinic it is possible to obtain full screening and treatment if required from your GP – although many GPs will advise to attend sexual health instead.
The NHS also fund free at home testing in many areas of the UK – this involves being sent a discreetly packaged at home testing kit which will include either a self vaginal swab or urine specimen pot for women and a urine specimen pot for men. Freepost packaging is provided for you to return it. Results can be sent to you via text, e-mail or post. If treatment is required this can be obtained from a local pharmacy or GP free of charge – information of required treatment will be provided with your results.
Click the image below to check if free at home screening is funded in your area and order your at home testing kit:
For those of you who unfortunately do not have funded at home testing in your area, you can still obtain at home testing kits from online pharmacies. This will be at a cost but the pricing isn’t too severe!
With the online pharmacy method you will register for an online account where the results of your tests will be uploaded for you to view. If you are positive for Chlamydia Lloyds Pharmacy will provide you with free antibiotic treatment. If you test positive for any other STI you may receive a telephone call from one of their doctors (eg. HIV) or information of where to access free treatment.
So what are you waiting for? Get your screening today.
I have made this super easy for you so there are no excuses! :p
Lots of Love