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Age Concern Brighton

Sexual Health In Later Years

STIs Peaking In Late Age

Figures released by Public Health England show a sharp increase in the diagnosis of cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis, two very common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Experts say that the United Kingdom could be just about to face a sexual health crisis, with these diseases as well as many others spreading wider across the population. This might be due to the changes in sexual practices with a bigger perception of sexual freedom. Experts also affirm that this alarming trend cannot be effectively fought back unless the government sets up a comprehensive and strategic approach to this problem. Cuts in public sexual health and sexual clinics are definitely not helping, and the lack of sex ed in many schools is making the problem bigger.

Figures show that gonorrhea cases have increased by 10% in 2015 compared to last year, and diagnosed syphilis cases are now 76% more frequent than in 2012. You can see this newspaper article for more details on figures and expert reports.

These numbers also show a strong tendency in the distribution of diagnosis, which is very uneven. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have proven to be the most vulnerable population to STD contagion, especially those of lower resources. 

Getting to know the infections

This report shows the peaking increase in syphilis and gonorrhea cases, so let’s take a closer look at these infections in order to know them better, as well as how to protect ourselves and our partner(s) from them.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted with sexual contact, blood transfusion and sharing needles. It is a sexually transmitted infection because the most common symptom of syphilis is sores or skin growths around genitals, the anus and/or the mouth. Close contact with these sores spreads the disease. 

Syphilis is difficult to diagnose without a blood test because the symptoms - not the disease itself - are very mild and disappear after a couple weeks. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. However, the infection is still present in the body, and it can have terrible consequences if left untreated. It can affect the brain and cause miscarriages or congenital diseases in fetuses. This is why regular tests are advised on sexually active people who aren’t in an absolutely monogamic relationship.

Treatment is very easy once the infection is detected and often a single dose of penicillin will clear out the disease. Click here for more information on Syphilis.

Gonorrhea

This is another bacterial infection that can also be tricky to diagnose because most people - especially women - have no symptoms when infected. Men can have an odd-colored discharge from their penis, discomfort when peeing and/or swollen testicles. Women may have an abundant discharge, bleeding between periods, feel discomfort when peeing or pain in their tummy. 

Gonorrhea is also treatable with antibiotics, but unlike syphilis, not all antibiotics will work in all cases. If you take a pill and it doesn’t clear out the infection, a different medication will be prescribed until you are healthy again. 

Gonorrhea can be transmitted through condomless sex, be it vaginal, anal or oral. If left untreated, the infection can cause severe problems in women because it spreads up to the rest of the reproductive system, causing a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and chronic pain. If you want to learn more, see this website for Gonorrhoea information.

Getting tested

As you can see the sexual health in older women. constantly needs to be checked, both in the case of gonorrhea and syphilis, getting tested is the best way to get rid of the infection before it damages your body on a greater scale. Regular testing is recommended for people who have an active sexual life, especially men who have sex with men because they have turned out to be the group at a higher risk. 

You can go to a genitourinary clinic to get tested, but some people don’t wish to do so because of the long waits, the time it consumes, how far the clinic is from their homes, and/or because they feel uncomfortable with it. Luckily, there are also sex health tests available online. You can purchase them at virtual clinics like The GUM Clinic (The GUM Clinic). They have a very convenient system where you can log in, request the test you want, and have it sent at your doorstep the next day. You can collect samples - usually urine samples or a vaginal swab - with the kit you get on the mail. Then you send it back, and in a matter of hours, you will have your results in a secure login or a text message to your phone. Further information, advice and a prescription will be provided if you test positive.


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  • Sexual Health In Later Years


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    Age Concern Brighton, 17 -19 Euston Road, Morecambe, Lancs, LA4 5DE.

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