Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming an increasing concern among young people in England. Many young people are unaware of the risks, or ignore symptoms due to embarrassment. Your sexual health is important, and making sure you understand the symptoms and where to get tested could save you from unnecessary worries and anxieties in the future.
STIs in the UK
Last year, there were 144,000 cases of gonorrhea diagnosed amongst 15 – 24 year olds in the UK. Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI among young people, along with genital herpes and genital warts.
For many young people, catching an STI can come as a surprise, with many unaware of the different symptoms associated with STIs, while others can be too embarrassed to seek medical help. Without diagnosis and treatment, sufferers are at risk of the condition becoming worse, as well as passing it on to others.
What to do if you think you have an STI
If you think you might have an STI, it’s important to get it diagnosed as soon as possible. You can go to your nearest sexual health clinic for advice, testing and treatment. There are a wealth of services available in the East Berkshire area or you can use sxt or Bashh to find your nearest clinic.
It’s also possible to order a free home test, allowing you to get results quickly to help you find out if you need to go to a clinic or not.
While it can be daunting to go to a sexual health clinic, it’s important that you do. Remember that all professionals who work at these clinics see hundreds of patients every week and aren’t there to judge you. It’s a positive step that you’re there and they will support that.
The next step might possibly be the most difficult, as you will also need to inform any sexual partners you have, as well as previous partners who might also have contracted the disease. By telling them, you’re giving them the chance to get treatment too and stop them from spreading the disease further.
The thought of telling sexual partners that they might have an STI can cause anxiety. There are some options available to you if you don’t want to tell them personally. Some clinics can offer to make the call for you, or you could use online or text services that allow you to contact people anonymously.
Taking care of your sexual health is very important. Using condoms and practicing safe sex can protect you from a large number of STIs, as well as reduce your chance of getting pregnant. Oral and other hormonal contraceptives can prevent pregnancy, but they cannot protect you from STIs. Make an appointment at your sexual health clinic or your GP to help you decide on the best contraceptive options for you.
It’s vital that you know where your nearest sexual health services are so that you can get help and advice when you need it. If there are no sexual health clinics nearby, then make an appointment with your GP instead. The sooner you get treatment, the better so be sure to wake up to your sexual health.