Monday the 12th of September marks the start of sexual health week. A week is dedicated to raising awareness of sexual health issues and treatments and generally opening the floor to discussion on some topics that not everyone feels comfortable discussing
This year we focus on safe sex and sexual contact after a rise in sexually transmitted infections within London and a record number of clinics turning away patients due to staff shortages. After all,
Prevention is better than cure
A fundamental message coined across many health care providers, yet we still find over 1200 people every day are diagnosed with an STI, with the city of London holding the highest numbers.
Do It London, is a London-wide sexual health promotion initiative offering advice on prevention choices in your area. Currently, gay & bisexual men in London can order a free Do it London condom pack – https://doitlondon.org/condoms/
Condoms can also be obtained in your local GUM clinics and your GP, as well as supermarkets, chemists and even good old-fashioned vending machines.
How else can we prevent the transmission of STIs?
Of course, condoms are good, but abstaining is best! However, we are all human, and it is bound to come to us all at least once! Here are some top tips for keeping yourself safe during those heated moments –
Be transparent – One-night stands, new relationships, turbulent ongoing sexual relationships, whatever situation you find yourself in, ask the questions and be honest with each other. It’s called respect, and it should start before any internet relations begin.
Refrain from boozy or drug-fuelled connections – We sometimes get caught up in the moment and even more so after a bottle of wine or a few beers. All ambitions fall by the wayside, so if you are on a date – don’t let the booze dictate what happens next.
Test test test – It is important in open relationships, or if you have multiple sexual relations, to get tested regularly and if you find yourself caught up in the moment and you are unsure if you have an STI, wait and get tested.
Reduce your sexual encounters – Consider how many different sexual encounters you have and whether this is a healthy option for you both physically and mentally. Not everyone is built for long-term relationships, but statics say the more sexual encounters you have, the greater the chances of picking up an STI are.
Get vaccinated – Vaccination can help prevent certain types of STIs. For example, our clinic offers vaccines to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Other medically based avenues to explore include –
PrEP – PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a drug used to reduce a person’s chance of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. If you consider yourself at risk, talk to one of our doctors about PrEP.
STIs can not only cause us anxiety and ongoing health issues, but they can also impact negatively on relationships, sex lives and self-esteem.
We see an increase in STIs due to a “perfect STI storm” of hook-up apps, increased anonymous sexual contacts, a new phenomenon called “Chem-Sex “, particularly in the MSM population, and budget cuts for NHS GUM clinics. We are also seeing the emergence of antibiotic-resistant STI strains.
Here in the clinic, we offer –
- A non-judgemental service
- Discreet, confidential appointments
- The choice of male or female doctors with chaperones available on request
- We pride ourselves on being an LGBTQIA-friendly practice
- Bespoke STI screens
- Onsite treatment
- Self-test kits for home use
- Same or next day results