Let's Think About Sex - National Awareness Day
February the 14th is not only Valentine’s Day but also Think About Sex Day – the national awareness day to help highlight sexual health.
LET’S THINK ABOUT SEX!
Why not give yourself a clean bill of health of sexual health this Valentines and reassure not only yourself but your partner?
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) affect people of all ages, races and sexual orientation and not just the younger demographic. In particular there has been an increase in the number of middle aged men and women from Northern Ireland contacting sexually transmitted diseases. Recent statistics have shown a worrying rise in cases of syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV diagnoses in recent years in Northern Ireland.
It is the responsible choice to attend for screening if there is any risk and it can be reassuring to attend for a ‘prerelationship’ sexual health check to put your mind at ease.
3Kingsbridge Private Hospital now offer instant HIV testing which gives accurate results within just 20 minutes (from a minimum of 26 days post potential exposure) as well as fast access to confidential private sexual health screening for a wide range of STI’S.
Dr Lisa Neligan - Private GP at Kingsbridge Healthcare Group said, "The promotion of sexual health should enhance sexual and emotional well-being and help people to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. I believe explicit confidentiality is of the utmost importance and at Kingsbridge Private Hospital we guarantee this for our patients who attend our sexual health clinic."
Dr Neligan continued, "Getting a sexual health test shouldn't have stigma attached to it. Not only are you looking after your own health by being screened but you're also helping ensure the health of those people you're having sexual relations with. It's a sensible choice for everyone to be proactive about their sexual health."
WHAT IS A STI?
A sexually transmitted infection is an infection that can be passed from one person to another through sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A STI?
- Genital lumps
- Genital sores or ulcers
- Itching in the pubic/genital area
- None of the above – many STI’S have no symptoms but can still be contagious and affect general health and fertility
- Penile or Vaginal discharge
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE AN STI SCREEN?
- If you have any of the symptoms listed above
- Before each new sexual relationship, if you have been previously sexually active
- You may need regular screening if you are high risk
WHAT DOES A SEXUAL HEALTH SCREEN INVOLVE?
- A consultation with our Private GP – consultations are 100% confidential
- Bloods – for HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B and C if deemed appropriate by doctor
- Depending on your symptoms you may have swabs taken.
- Urine testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea - these are the most common STIs
We can tailor individual packages or provide single tests if required. We also offer a range of common STI profiles.
If you are worried about a particular exposure and you have no symptoms, it is advisable to wait 2 weeks before you are screened.
The most common types of STI are as follows:
It is one of the most common STI’S. It is known as the silent STI as up to 75% women and 50% men can have no symptoms. Common symptoms include abnormal vaginal/penile discharge, pain on passing urine, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse and irregular vaginal bleeding. If left untreated it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can result in infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancies. It is easily treated with antibiotics.
This is a bacterial infection which can cause vaginal/penile discharge, pelvic pain, or pain on passing urine. Like chlamydia it can be asymptomatic and cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. It is easily cured with antibiotics.
Warts are a very common STI. They usually present as non-painful lumps in the genital are caused by the HPV virus. Different strains of the virus cause warts or cervical cancer/pre-cancerous cells. Although there is no cure for HPV there are treatments that can help eradicate the warts. This virus can live in the body for many years and people can carry the virus and not know it.
This is a viral infection which is easily transmitted from person to person. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus which can live around the mouth/lips causing ‘cold-sores’ or in the genital region causing genital herpes. It causes ulcerated often painful lesions/blisters around the genital area. There is no cure for this but breakouts can be treated with anti-viral medication.
This is caused by direct contact with a syphilis sore or lesion. Ulcers can be found in the genital area and also in the mouth. There are 3 stages of the disease and it develops over years. If treated with antibiotics at the early stage it can be cured. It can be diagnosed from a simple blood test but if left untreated it can spread into the blood stream and cause many problems including mental deterioration, blindness, deafness and lead to a wide range of issues with the central nervous system.
Trichomoniasis is an STI that can cause vaginal/penile discharge. It is often asymptomatic and is easily cured with antibiotics.
HIV is a virus that can cause AIDS. It can be transmitted by sexual intercourse and stays in the body for life, attacking your immune system so that you are unable to fight infections. It is diagnosed by a blood test and requires lifelong treatment and monitoring.
Hepatitis B is a virus that can be transmitted by sexual intercourse and cause inflammation of the liver. It can also be transmitted by sharing needles for drug use. It usually has no symptoms but can cause serious liver disease. For those who do show symptoms, they often include feeling sick, being sick, lack of appetite, flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin and eye (jaundice).
HEPC is a virus is usually transmitted from sharing needles, from mother to baby but also through sexual contact. In most cases, hepatitis C causes no noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. When symptoms do occur they are often vague but can include flu-like symptoms, tiredness and depression.
Call us today on 028 9066 7878 to book an appointment.