It was in the news this morning that an outbreak of ‘super-gonorrhoea’ has been detected in Leeds, sparking national concern.
Fifteen cases have been detected so far around the North of England, but what’s causing panic is the fact that this particular strain of the disease is highly resistant to the drug that normally treats gonorrhoea (called azithromycin).
‘This azithromycin highly-resistant outbreak is the first one that has triggered a national alert,’ Peter Greenhouse, a sexual health consultant, told the BBC. ‘It doesn’t sound like an awful lot of people, but the implication is there’s a lot more of this strain out there and we need to stamp it out as quickly as possible.’
10% of people with gonorrhoea don’t even have symptoms. And as it’s Sexual Health Week, there really is NO better time to check in with your body and get aware.
To help you out, we caught up with Embarrassing Bodies’ Dr Pixie McKenna (who is also Superdrug‘s Health & Wellbeing Ambassador) to get her top tips for making sure you’re looking after your sexual health. Over to Pixie!
1. If you take a risk, take a test. The absence of symptoms doesn’t mean the absence of disease. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK. Most people in the UK who have it have no idea that they do. Don’t assume you have got away with it if you have had a holiday fumble, take a test.
2. Always pack condoms. But make sure they are in date, not stashed in your back pocket or handbag where they could get damaged. Never store in bright sunlight or warm environments. All of these activities can reduce their effectiveness. (You can order them online at Superdrug if you’d rather keep it discreet.)
3. Beware of recurrent cystitis. If you can’t seem to shake it take an online STI test as sometimes symptoms can be similar.
4. Get clued up about the morning after pill. There are now two morning after pills available without seeing your GP. Ideally we advise them the morning after i.e. the sooner the better. The newest form can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse. But please be aware planned contraception, not emergency contraception is the best if you want to prevent a pregnancy.
5. Oral sex is still sex. Which means it still runs the risk of you contracting chlamydia, gonorrhoea or even syphilis or hepatitis. Always insist on a condom.
6. Remember: STI testing isn’t scary. STI testing has moved with the times. Gone are the awkward swabs and endless waits. Most things can be screened for on a urine test and when it comes to blood borne disease like HIV we often only need a finger prick of blood to make a diagnosis. The best thing of all is if you are too frightened or too embarrassed to attend an STI clinic you can now check in the privacy of your own home via Superdrug’s Online Doctor.
7. Erectile Dysfunction is common. It’s a condition that can affect 40% of men over 40. It may be the first sign of an underlying disease or disorder so it’s important to seek help. Superdrug’s Online Doctor service will walk you through an online consultation for this purpose. If they deem you suitable they can discreetly prescribe medications that can help.