Category: Pillow Talk

Recent STI Statistics

STI Statistics: Public Health England (PHE) has revealed in a report that overall rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remained stable in 2017 compared to 2016. However, there are a number of key statistics about increases of the number of cases of Syphilis and Gonorrhoea.

Important Statistics:

  • In 2017, there were approximately 422,000 diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) made in England, around the same number that was reported in 2016.
  • There were 7,137 diagnoses of syphilis reported in 2017, a 20% increase (from 5,955) relative to the year prior and a 148% increase relative to 2008.
  • There were 44,676 diagnoses of gonorrhoea reported in 2017, a 22% increase (from 36,577) relative to the year prior.
  • There were 441 diagnoses of first episode genital warts in 15 to 17 year old girls in 2017, a 90% decrease relative to 2009 and an early expression of the success of the national HPV immunisation programme.
  • Over 1.3 million chlamydia tests were carried out and over 126,000 chlamydia diagnoses were made among young people aged 15 to 24 years. There was an 8% decline in the number of chlamydia tests in 2017 compared to 2016.
  • The impact of STIs remains greatest in young heterosexuals 15 to 24 years; black ethnic minorities; and gay, bisexual and other MSM.

If you are worried about your sexual health or just want to get tested but don’t want to be embarrassed by going to a gum clinic. We’ve got a solution. We offer a home sti kit that tests for 10 different STI’s. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. STI Statistics don’t lie. Click here to find out more!

Syphilis cases amongst 18-24 year olds up 12% in a year

A report this week has found that fewer young people are being tested for sexually transmitted infections, despite a sharp rise in cases.

Whilst the ratio of 18-24 year olds testing positive for chlamydia, the most common sexual infection, has increased to almost one in ten, testing for the condition has fallen by a quarter in just five years.

The report, conducted by the Royal College of Nursing, also noted that cases of syphilis have jumped by 12% – a statistic which Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health at the Royal College of Nursing has described as “worrying”.

Helen said; “If people are not able to access services then serious STIs could go undiagnosed and untreated – it is a major risk to public health.”

The experts behind the report have put the lack of testing down to “understaffed services going to extreme lengths to try to cope, even turning people away.”  A survey of 600 nurses working in the field found most had turned patients away because of insufficient resources.

Dr Olwen Williams, President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said of the issue; “These important findings provide yet more evidence that sexual health services have reached tipping point in this country.

“Despite the best efforts of staff to maintain standards, persistent and damaging cuts to the local authority public health budget in recent years have led to clinic closures and a worrying increase in the number of patients being unable to access the care they need.”

This is in spite of the NHS currently having to spend £620 million a year treating STIs, some of which have very serious complications, including infertility.

Syphilis in particular, is a condition that needs to be taken seriously. If left untreated, it can cause mental deterioration, blindness, deafness, all sorts of issues with the central nervous system and eventually leads to early death. Pregnant women can pass the condition on to their unborn baby, which can cause stillbirth or death shortly after labour.

Thankfully though, the sexually transmitted infection can be successfully cured with the correct antibiotics, if diagnosed early, so it is important to get tested before it’s too late.

If you’re worried about STIs, but are anxious about going to the Sexual Health Clinic, you can instead take an STI test from the privacy of your own home. You can avail of the world’s first and only home STI testing kit for 10 STIs – Confidante.

A completely private service, no appointment needed, and no waiting room delays. There really is no excuse not to get tested.

Order your kit online today: www.confidantetest.com/basket

Grooming pubic hair: increased STI risk

pillow-talk-blog-sti-increaseA survey of around 7,500 people between the ages of 18 and 65 has revealed that pubic hair “groomers” had a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

The study was carried out by researchers from The University of California and the University of Texas aimed to assess the relationship between grooming habits and sexually transmitted infections.
It suggests that grooming could lead to small tears in the skin (micro-tears) which may make a person more vulnerable to catching certain types of STIs that can be spread via skin-to-skin contact, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV). It also highlights that groomers – particularly extreme ones – tend to be more sexually active too. STIs are passed on through unprotected sex or genital contact.

Extreme grooming hazardous

The most commonly used trimming tool for men was an electric razor, whilst a manual razor was more common among women. 1 in 5 of both male and female claimed to use scissors. The researchers advised that doctors should advise groomers to cut back a little on their grooming or put off having sex until the skin has totally healed.
Approximately three quarters of respondents said they had groomed their pubic hair before – 94% of women and 66% of men said they’d trimmed, shaved or waxed in the past. 17% of the groomers described themselves as “extreme” – removing all hair at least once a month – and 22% as “high frequency” – trimming daily or weekly. Those with the most extreme grooming habits were 3 to 4 times more likely to contract an STI, particularly infections from skin to skin contact such as herpes and HPV.

On the other hand…

The good side of grooming was that the habit was proven to protect against pubic lice. The report said: “If grooming is found to protect against lice, individuals at risk for pubic lice could be counselled to remove their pubic hair.

If you’re a pubic hair groomer and think you could be at risk of having an STI (remember that many STI infections do not show any symptoms) then Confidante can help! Testing for 10 of the most common STIs from the privacy of your own home – Confidante allows you to be confident about your sexual health.

 

Why are instances of STIs rising in over 45’s?

pillow-talk-blog-imageAre we ageist when it comes to sexual health? That’s a concern raised this week following the publication of a report which looks at why instances of STIs in the over 45s are on the rise.
Between 2011 – 2015 in England, instances of Chlamydia went up by 63% in five years. Conversely in the 15 – 24 year old population, it fell. Glasgow Caledonian University researcher Jenny Dalrymple puts that down a higher rate of older adults divorcing and changing partners, as well as a population more able to be sexually active for longer in life.

She warned that this is an area of public health which has to date been ignored. Dalrymple found that STI knowledge was limited; stating that “Most participants had heard about gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, general warts and HIV, but beyond recognising the names they were often unsure about any further detailed information.”
A major obstacle to dealing with STIs she believes, is the fact that old stigmas have endured. Limited sexual education in the 60s, 70s and 80s often left behind a sense of moral disapproval. “The little they had learned about STIs was usually in the context of promiscuous sexual behaviour being condemned and disease being seen as a consequence – with worse stigma where women were concerned,” she said. “As a result, many participants had gone through life regarding STIs as something to be ashamed of.”

Dalrymple calls for public health officials to launch a new directive aimed at tackling the growing numbers of older adults presenting with STIs. She says this is particularly important around people emerging from lengthy relationships. It follows warnings of a ‘super gonorrhoea’ which has been identified in England, Japan and the US. It prompted a national alert last year, once it was discovered that one of the most common forms of treatment was useless.

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ‘Health at a Glance: Europe 2016’ report also showed that the UK has the highest rate of gonorrhoea in Europe (59.7 cases per 100,000), with Ireland coming second (28.3 per 100,000). The average is 20 per 100,000.

STIs pass from person to person during sexual activity. You are at risk of picking one up if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex or share sex toys with an infected person. It is important to get checked out if you think you may have an STI because early diagnosis can prevent you from developing complications. One way of doing this is to visit a genito-urinary medicine clinic.

Or you could get tested at home.

Randox has created the world’s first over-the-counter sexually transmitted disease testing kit. In the privacy of your own home, you can be tested for ten of the most commons STIs:

• Chlamydia
• Gonorrhoea
• Syphilis
• Herpes simplex I
• Herpes simplex II
• Tichomonas vaginalis
• Mycoplasma hominis
• Mycoplasma genitalium
• Ureaplasma urealticum
• Chancroid

This is what some of our clients have told us:
“When I found out my ex had an STI, I was really worried I might have one too. This test was a really easy way to check myself out, and was so relieved to find out everything is OK,” Gemma, Newtownabbey.
“This test has completely put my mind at ease. I was too embarrassed to go to the GUM clinic in the hospital, so once I found out I could test myself from home, it was such a relief to know I didn’t have to go through all that. Thanks so much for your help,” Melissa, Essex.
“Only found out about Confidante from an online search for STI tests, but so glad I did. Got the all clear 3 days after I posted the test off, so no need for any embarrassing talks with the ex!” Tony, London.

Click here to purchase your kit.

Fact File: The 10 Most Common STI’s

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Confidante specialises in testing you for the 10 most common Sexually Transmitted Infections from the comfort of your home. We’ve compiled a fact file to inform you about each of these infections:

  1. Chlamydia
  • The most common STI
  • Affects both men and women of all ages
  • Passed on through unprotected sex

Caused by a bacterium, Chlamydia can lead to serious health issues, including infertility. It can be treated with antibiotics, therefore early testing and diagnosis is crucial. Many cases of Chlamydia are not reported as it does not always show symptoms; therefore the individual may not suspect they have an infection.

  1. Gonorrhoea
  • The second most common STI
  • Young men & women are affected the most
  • Passed on through unprotected sex

Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoea. It can grow easily in the warm, moist areas of a female’s reproductive system. It can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus. Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics, but like most STIs, other complications result from long term untreated/repeated infections.

  1. Syphilis
  • Over 3,000 new cases reported each year in the UK
  • Pregnant women can pass syphilis onto their unborn baby
  • Passed on through unprotected sex & skin contact

Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Primary syphilis is when sores appear at the point where the bacteria entered the body. Secondary syphilis occurs when untreated sores have appeared and healed. It is still infectious and maintains its ability to be passed on. Tertiary syphilis is a progression from untreated secondary syphilis. Untreated syphilis can, after many years, cause serious damage to the heart, brain, eyes, internal organs and nervous system.

  1. Herpes Simplex 1
  • Causes sores around the mouth and lips
  • More than 90% of the population is positive for herpes 1
  • Mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact

Herpes simplex 1 is from the herpes simplex virus family and causes sores around the mouth and lips which are sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores. This virus is likely to reoccur more often than herpes 2 and is transmitted through oral sex. It can sometimes cause genital sores as well. Herpes usually does not lead to complications, although, outbreaks are common and can be painful.

  1. Herpes Simplex 2
  • Causes painful blisters on the genitals & surrounding areas
  • Common in the age group of 20-24 year olds
  • Contracted by having sex with someone who has herpes 2

More commonly known as genital herpes, Herpes simplex 2 is from the herpes simplex virus family and is a chronic long-term condition. This virus causes painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas and is transmitted by having any form of sex. Type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex are different strains of the virus within the same family.

  1. Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Affects both men & women
  • 6000 cases diagnosed annually
  • Spread by having unprotected sex

Whilst trichomonas affects both men and women, women are more likely to experience its symptoms. It’s caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, and diagnosis is often difficult as there are usually no symptoms. Complications related to this STI are rare, however it can weaken the protective mucus barrier of the cervix, which helps prevent infection of the female reproductive organs.

  1. Mycoplasma hominis
  • Affects up to 50% of sexually active males & females
  • Present in almost all humans in the urinary tract
  • Can cause vaginitis & pelvic inflammatory disease in women

Mycoplasma hominis is a common mollicute bacterium, present in all humans in the urinary tract. However, it can sometimes cause infection which can be transmitted sexually. It’s different from other STIs, in that monogamous couples can suddenly experience mycoplasma hominis even after years of exclusivity. The symptoms are similar to many other STIs and it is often mistaken for gonorrhoea or chlamydia. It is also possible to have mycoplasma hominis and not experience any symptoms at all.

  1. Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Spread by having unprotected sex
  • Lesser known STI but is very common
  • Can cause endometritis in women

Mycoplasma genitalium has similarities to both chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Most infections do not show any symptoms and therefore, it is difficult to know if you have it without being tested.

  1. Ureaplasma urealyticum
  • Left untreated it can cause infertility
  • Left untreated it can cause still birth
  • Extremely contagious & spread through unprotected sex

Ureaplasma urealyticum often has no symptoms and a large percentage of people do not experience any problems at all. However, it can cause symptoms and further complications in some people. Left untreated, it can be associated with infertility, premature or still birth, non-specific urethritis, meningitis and pneumonia. If the infection is left untreated for several months it can spread to other parts of the body and damage joints, nerves and muscles.

  1. Chancroid
  • Less common in the UK – more common in Asia and Africa
  • More than 9 million people are infected annually
  • It is highly contagious but easily treated

Chancroid is an STI caused by haemophilus ducreyi bacterium. Early signs of chancroid may be mistaken for syphilis, yet the sores will grow to a larger size and will be more painful. Any sexually active person can be infected with chancroid. Although less common in the UK, it is a lot more common in Asia and Africa.

 

Confidante can test for these 10 common STI’s using 1 single test in t
he privacy of your own home, providing a comprehensive profile of your sexual health.

So if you are concerned about your sexual health due to a recent event, symptoms, a change in sexual partner or simply want peace of mind, Confidante home STI test kit offers the perfect solution.

 

A focus on: Gonorrhoea

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Gonorrhoea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause serious health problems such as infertility in both men and women. We’ve compiled all you need to know about this nasty STD!

Causes

Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria which are found mainly in the vaginal fluids and semen of men and women who have the infection. It is passed on by sexual contact with an infected person, and the bacteria can live inside the cells of the cervix, the urethra, the rectum, the throat and sometimes the eyes. If the bacteria reaches the eye this can cause conjunctivitis, however it is uncommon in adults.

Signs & Symptoms

Women

  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Lower abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Rarely bleeding between periods or heavier periods
  • Infection in rectum
  • Infection in throat
  • Infection in the eyes

Men

  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain or tenderness in testicles

How do I know if I have Gonorrhoea?

The only way to be certain you have gonorrhoea is if you have a test. If you think you may have caught the infection it is important that you get tested as soon as possible.

There are various reasons you should get tested:

  • You have symptoms
  • You have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner
  • You or your partner have had unprotected sex with other partners
  • A sexual partner tells you they have an STI
  • You have another STI
  • You are pregnant or planning a pregnancy

Even if your partner has tested negative – it is still possible that you could have gonorrhoea. So don’t rely on your partners result. If you have gonorrhoea it is recommended to test for other sexually transmitted infections as you can have more than 1 at the same time. This is why Confidante test for the 10 most common STI’s, to give you better peace of mind.

Treatment

The treatment for gonorrhoea, which is 95% effective, is antibiotics. It can involve having an antibiotic injection and a single dose of tablets. Not everyone who has gonorrhoea has complications. However, without effective treatment can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have had gonorrhoea, the more likely you are to have complications with the infection.

In women, gonorrhoea can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility and ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy develops outside the uterus.) In men, it can cause a painful infection in the testicles and possible reduce fertility. Less typically, gonorrhoea can cause inflammation of the joints and tendons, and skin lesions.

Get your Confidante test today and be confidant that you don’t have gonorrhoea.

 

Everything you need to know about Chlamydia

confidante-pillow-talk-chlamydiaThe prevalence of STDs is increasing, so it is important that sexually active men and women know how to protect themselves from infection. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial infection in the UK, and so it is important to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms.

Chlamydia can be difficult to diagnose and treat because often the symptoms are mild. It is known as the “silent disease”, and can cause a number of serious health complications if left undetected and treated.

WHAT IS IT?

Chlamydia is an STD caused by the bacteria, Chlamyida trachomatis. The STD can infect the rectum, vagina, or penis, and may also cause infections of the throat and eyes. Symptoms of the disease tend to be mild or non-existent, however, complications can be serious if treatment is not received. Effective treatment to help manage the infection is available, and typically includes some form of antibiotic.

HOW DO YOU GET IT?

The STI is contracted through sexual activity with an infected partner. The chlamydia bacteria are found in the semen and vaginal fluid of those infected with the illness. This fluid can be exchanged during:

  • vaginal intercourse
  • oral intercourse
  • anal intercourse

Pregnant women who are infected with Chlamydia can actually pass the disease along to their child during labour and delivery.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Anyone sexually active is at some risk for getting chlamydia. This risk can be increased however if you:

  • do not test regularly for STDs
  • engage in unprotected sex
  • have numerous sex partners
  • already have syphilis, gonorrhoea or HIV

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of Chlamydia can be very subtle. Up to 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men show no symptoms of the disease. If symptoms do develop, they tend to do so within 3 weeks of being infected.

Symptoms for Men

  • white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis
  • pain, discomfort or a ‘burning sensation’ during urination
  • itching around the tip of the penis
  • inflammation, tenderness and pain in and around the testicles

Symptoms of chlamydia in women include:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge
  • abdominal pain
  • pain during intercourse
  • burning during urination
  • feelings of urinary urgency

COMPLICATIONS

Chlamydia can cause serious health issues in both men and women if left untreated.

Women are more likely to experience complications. If Chlamydia spreads to the reproductive organs, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can occur. More than 40% of women with Chlamydia develop PID.  It can cause scarring of the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can interefere with fertilization and pregnancy. Furthermore, PID can increase a woman’s risk of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside the womb.)

During pregnancy is when Chlamydia can be particularly dangerous. It can be passed on during labour and delivery causing serious eye infections and pneumonia. Chlamydia can also increase your chance of having a preterm delivery.

Health risks as a result of Chlamydia infection are less common in men, but can include infection of the epididymis, a tightly coiled tube that lies behind the testes. Although rare, this infection can lead to sterility.

Chlamydia infection increases your risk of gonorrhoea. It’s common for these STI’s to occur together, which is why Confidante STI home kit tests for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea amongst 8 other common STI’s.

TREATMENT

Chlamydia is typically treated with a course of antibiotics. Pregnant women will be given additional antibiotics to prevent transmitting the disease onto their child. To avoid reinfection, it is vital that any sexual partners receive treatment for the illness as well.

PREVENTION

Here are the best tips to preventing Chlamydia:

  • Always use a condom when participating in sexual activity
  • Limit your number of sex partners
  • Test yourself for STIs with Confidante and encourage your sexual partners to do so too
  • Get treatment immediately if you discover you have the infection, and notify your sexual partners

 

Top 10 Tips for Men’s Sexual Health

Most of us want to be healthy, and so we try to watch wTop 10 Tips for Men's Sexual Healthhat we eat, exercise and manage stress. But not many of us know that we can take care of our sexual health, and prevent problems before they occur.

Here are 10 tips for men to keep in mind for maximum sexual health:

1. Eat a healthy diet

Eating healthy foods that are rich in nutrients and low in fats keeps your ‘sexual’ system in good working order. Fruit and vegetables, lean cuts of meat, whole grains and low-fat milk should be in your diet.

2.  Exercise regularly

Lack of exercise can create sexual problems. You should undertake regular exercise, including walking, cycling, tennis or whatever you find enjoyable.

3. Stop smoking  

Studies have found that a majority of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are smokers. They also discovered that smoking can reduce sperm count and quality. Stop smoking to benefit your sexual health as well as your general health.

4. Reduce your alcohol intake

While you may enjoy the buzz you feel when you drink alcoholic beverages, you are putting yourself at risk for ED.  Alcohol may make you feel sexier by lowering inhibitions, but it also reduces libido, causes erection problems, and often times impairs the ability to have an orgasm.

5. Manage stress in your life

Everyone knows that stress can have you feeling exhausted, worried and nervous, but did you know it can also lead to sexual problems? If you allow stress to manage your life, you will soon feel as if it is out of control. Practice stress management techniques, find ways to handle anger and sadness, and you will be doing your part to maintain your sexual health.

6. Do Kegel exercises

Usually associated with women, Kegel exercises can increase sexual enjoyment in mes as well.  Kegels are a way to strengthen the muscles that connect the base of the penis with the tailbone.  These muscles act to control the flow of fluids through the urethra, so by learning how to control them, you can delay ejaculation to heighten your orgasm.  To learn how these muscles feel, try stopping the flow of urine the next time you urinate.  These are the muscles you need to tighten, so to do Kegels, just squeeze the muscles, hold them for a few seconds, and then relax them.  By contracting these muscles, you gradually build up their strength.

7. Use lubricants

Men often experience a gradual loss of sensitivity as they grow older. Lubricants can help men with this problem to gain a freer range of motion, and increase sexual enjoyment.

8. Have a yearly visit with your doctor

It is no secret that men do not like going to the doctor, but if you want to maintain your overall (and sexual) health, you should make sure that you have a check-up at least once a year.

9. Avoid illegal substances

Some men will take illegal drugs to get high, thinking that it will enhance their sexual experience.  But it most cases, it has the opposite effect.  If you want to avoid ED, then avoid illegal substances.

10. Have a positive attitude

Medical studies prove that men who have a positive attitude towards life also enjoy a problem free sex life as well.  So, adjust your attitude to a positive one, and enjoy the benefits!

For more information on how Confidante works, click HERE.

Rise in STIs: Syphilis & Gonorrhoea

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Public Health England data has shown that between 2012 and 2015, cases of syphilis increased from 3,001 to 5,288 – a staggering 76%. Gonorrhoea infections grew by 53%, up to 41,193 from 26,880. The rise was most prominent among men who have sex with men. The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV have said that this continued rise of gonorrhoea is extremely disturbing.

Most commonly diagnosed STI

The most commonly diagnosed STI was chlamydia, which accounted for approximately half of the cases diagnosed in 2015.
As a whole, rates of sexually transmitted infections went down slightly, totalling 434,456. Experts point out, however, that this could be as a result of less people getting tested. Only 32% of young women and 13% of young men were tested in 2015, despite routinely offered chlamydia screenings.

Could this be due to the stigma associated with Sexually Transmitted Infections and getting tested?

No need to visit a GUM clinic

Simple, accurate, confidential and comprehensive –there is no need to visit a GUM or sexual health clinic. Confidante allows you to test for 10 STI’s including syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

“These statistics highlight the importance and need for regular STI testing. The discreet and private nature of our Confidante STI kit make it the obvious choice.” – Stuart Penrose, Randox Global Marketing Manager

Look after your sexual health & take the Confidante STI test today.

 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – the silent, sometimes unseen infections that are spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can include bacteria, viruses or parasites.  For example, chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is found in sexual fluids in males and females.  Most people who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms and therefore do not know they have it unless they get tested.  It can be successfully treated with antibiotics but if left undiagnosed it can lead to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy in women and fertility problems in men.

The number of recorded cases of STIs is steadily rising and while there is a greater awareness and knowledge of testing for these conditions, the spread of STIs in younger adults is increasing as they are less likely to use protection and have multiple sexual partners.

Most sexually transmitted infections have an incubation period when the person has the infection but even when tested will not show up, this varies from days to weeks to months and it is recommended that a person waits at least two weeks from their last sexual encounter before they are tested.

How do you know you have an STI?

In many cases if you have no STI symptoms you will not know you have an STI so you need to be tested to be sure.  For others there are obvious symptoms that will tell you something is not right, these can include; rashes or itchiness in the genital area, a discharge from the penis or vagina, pain when going to the loo or having sex and lumps or sores.

If you have ever had unprotected sex you should really have an STI test.  If you think you may have an infection the best way to get the right diagnosis and treatment to take a sexual health test.

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