BRITS love nothing more than some quality time beneath the sheets, but new data shows that many of us haven’t been being so careful when it comes to protecting ourselves from nasty infections.
Across the country, searches for ‘sexually transmitted infections’ (STIs) have gone up by 100 per cent in the last month alone.
Research shows that the UK has now been crowned the gonorrhoea capital of Europe and also has the fourth highest number of chlamydia cases.
The experts at online men’s wellness company FromMars say that like any transferable illness, STIs can fluctuate in how prevalent they are in different areas.
“They rely on person-to-person sexual contact in order to infect someone new, so infection rates tend to be pretty low compared to other infectious viruses such as the flu.
“However, if you’re not careful and you let passion cloud your better judgement, you could well end up with an unpleasant surprise.”
But how riddled is your local area? Luckily this handy calculator predicts your risk of catching incurable sexually transmitted infections (STIS).
Here’s how to use it.
How to use the STI calculator
First you need to head over to the STI calculator.
You’ll be asked what region of the country you live in and then the specific area, so for example the East Midlands and Leicester.
All you have to do it click the ‘go’ button and you will be presented with information on different infections.
For example in Leicester, there are around 854 STIs per 100,000 of the population.
All rates are calculated per 100,000 and the rate of syphilis in the area is 15.2 , while the gonorrhoea rate is 123.
It also calculates the rate of herpes and HIV which are incurable but treatable.
Cases of chlamydia are the biggest driver of STIs in the area, with 493 cases.
What is gonorrhoea and what are the signs?
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection which is sometimes known as “the clap”.
The bacterial infection spreads through all forms of unprotected sex, as well as by sharing unwashed or unprotected sex toys.
According to the NHS, the bacteria which causes gonorrhoea can sometimes infect your throat and eyes, as well as the more common locations of the cervix, urethra and rectum.
Pregnant women can pass the infection on to their baby, which can cause blindness if it isn’t treated in time.
What are the signs?
The signs of a gonorrhoea infection can vary between men and women.
In women, symptoms can often include unusually watery or off-colour vaginal discharge, as well as burning pain when urinating.
Less common symptoms in women include pain in the lower gut and bleeding between periods or after sex.
In men, symptoms can include an unusual discharge from the penis, burning after urinating, swelling in the foreskin and, in rare cases, pain in the testicles.
Normally, it takes a couple of weeks from infection for the symptoms to emerge – although it can take a few months longer in some cases.
However, around one tenth of men and half of women have the disease without any symptoms, which can mean it goes longer without being treated.
The data states that Lambeth in London currently has the highest number of new STI cases at 3,915 per 100,000 people and of those cases, 1,611 have been revealed to be chlamydia.
Outside of London and Brighton & Hove is where residents are most ‘at risk’ of catching an STI, where current figures stand at around 1,566 per 100,000 people.
Looking to the North West and Manchester has the most STIs with 1,437 cases. The most prevalent infections are chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital warts.
Kavin Khosla, superintendent pharmacist at From Mars, said it’s important to practise safe sex.
“It’s crucial we all have safe sex and use a form of protection which is best suited to our bodies.
“For men, it’s advised that a condom should always be used, regardless of whether your female partner is on the contraceptive pill or not.
“There are many forms of contraception for women and your GP is on hand to talk you through your best options, as well to help put your mind at ease.”
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