Tag: 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.

 

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 the 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

It 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
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