Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections remain one of the biggest health worries all around the world. Even though awareness regarding safe sex practices is growing, there is still a lot of work to be done. The group where the awareness seems to be lacking the most is of gay men as there is no sign of a decline in STIs which are prevalent in gay men. It might be due to the fact that gay men don’t give much importance of safe sexual practices or it might be because they don’t know that transmissions are more frequent among gay men as compared to heterosexual men.
UK has been waging a strong battle against STIs and STDs and a number of campaigns have been launched in recent years to increase awareness about STIs and STDs, to encourage people to take STI tests and to help people understand why it is necessary to adopt safe sex practices. This is why a small yet encouraging change in the number of STI cases in the past year in the UK can be considered a success. A total of 439,243 cases of STIs came out in England across all kinds of groups in 2014 which is 0.3% lesser than the cases that were observed in 2013.
However, the worrying aspect about STI cases when observing the figures of 2014 is that there was a marked increase in STI cases among gay men. The four most common STIs where the increase in the number of cases among gay men was most astounding are:
There were a total of 13,629 cases of Gonorrhea recorded in 2013 among men who had sexual intercourse with men. The cases rose by 32% to 18,029 in 2014.
There was also a marked increase in the cases of genital warts with the amount being 3,156 in 2013 and 3,456 in 2014.
There were 9,118 cases of Chlamydia recorded in 2013. This amount became 11,468 in 2014 which shows an increase of over 25%.
There were a total of 2,375 cases of Syphilis recorded in 2013. The cases rose by 46% in 2014 to 3,477.
The worry is not just that there was an increase in the overall cases of STIs in gay men however. The sheer number of cases of Gonorrhea reported in 2014 is also a worry especially seeing the fact that the infection is now growing resistant to antibiotics and its treatment is becoming a lot more difficult.
In order to be able to curb the rate at which STI cases are being reported in gay men, it is important to spread as much awareness about them as possible. The main reason for the spread of STIs in gay men is the non-adherence to safe sex practices. Most gay men who are diagnosed with the STI report that they practiced sex without a condom and such practices often lead to the diagnosis of an STI. Since most STIs don’t show any sort of symptoms, it’s necessary to practice safe sex in order to ensure that transmission of the infection doesn’t take place during sexual intercourse. This is also exactly the reason why gay men should get themselves tested for both HIV and STIs at least once every year. If you have practiced unprotected sex or have sex with multiple partners, you should get tested every three months just to be safe.
Gonorrhea, syphilis and other STIs are all prevalent in gay men. Gonorrhea usually affects the penis, eyes and throat during unsafe sexual intercourse. Direct skin contact alone usually does not result in the passing of Gonorrhea (you can find gonorrhoea information here). However, syphilis is slightly different in the sense that direct skin contact with a person who has syphilis induced sores can result in the transfer of the infection. Sexual intercourse, sharing of sex toys etc can also result in transmission of syphilis.
There are usually no symptoms of any STI though in some cases a discharge from the penis is observed. You can find syphilis information as well as information on other STIs here.
Since STIs are on the rise among gay men, it’s important that you get yourself tested in order to make sure that you don’t pass on the infection to anyone else and in order to get yourself treated as well. It’s possible to keep it all discreet by ordering online tests for the STIs. You can get a full STI screen through online testing sites like GSTT Sexual Health. Once you would order the screen, you would be sent a testing kit with the required instructions to get the sample. Once you would send the sample to the mailing address, the sample would be tested and you would be told the results via e-mail with the best course of treatment provided as well in case you test positive for any STI.
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