Doctor’s advice for those who have unprotected sex after STI ‘epidemic’ hits
Many let their inhibitions go during the festive period.
Whether it’s getting boozed up at your Christmas party, or smooching a stranger under the mistletoe, it does seem to be the season for debauchery.
Cases of unprotected sex tend to surge by 20% in the month of December.
And this is probably why warnings of an “STI epidemic” have hit the news recently.
Dr Clair Grainger told Daily Star Online: “We expect to see a surge in STI test and treatment rates following the Christmas period. In fact, last year orders for STI treatments peaked on 3rd January.
“The high spirits of party season combined with time away from our usual routines and drinking more alcohol can mean that we’re more likely to forget what normally comes naturally, such as using protection.”
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Dr Grainger urges anyone who has had unprotected sex to “get tested as soon as possible”.
But unfortunately, this can be tricky over the festive period.
Dr Stephanie Ooi, a GP at London’s MyHealthcare Clinic , explained that many GPs and sexual health clinics are closed over the Christmas bank holidays.
This can be distressing for those who need “immediate access to sexual health services”.
If your case is urgent – like when you need emergency contraception or are displaying worrying symptoms – always ring 111.
Dr Ooi advised: “I recommend ringing 111 for advice or attending your local walk-in centre if your need is urgent.
“In some cases you may also be able to seek advice regarding emergency contraception from your local sexual health clinic or pharmacy.”
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In instances where you’re worrying about having an STI, it’s best to wait until after the Christmas period is over.
As sexually transmitted diseases often can’t be detected for a few weeks, this will make testing more accurate.
The health expert added: “It is important not to panic if you have reason to believe that you may have been exposed to an STI over the holidays.
“Whilst you may be anxious to get an answer as soon as possible, it is important to note that in many cases testing cannot occur immediately as it can take two to four weeks for some STIs to become detectable.
“In cases such as these you can schedule an appointment when normal services resume between Boxing Day and New Year.
“If you are worried that you might have a STI and aren’t able to access a sexual health clinic, then it is best to abstain from any sexual contact until you are able to have testing done.”
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