An STI is diagnosed in a young person every 4 minutes in England. Image Adobe Stock

Sex without using a condom increases risk of contracting life-changing STI

Public Health England (PHE) statistics show that a case of chlamydia or gonorrhoea is diagnosed in a young person every 4 minutes in England.

In 2017, there were over 144,000 diagnoses of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in people aged 15 to 24.

The ‘Protect Against STIs’ campaign highlights the increased likelihood of contracting a life-changing STI if people have sex without a condom.

Dr Hamish Mohammed, consultant STI scientist at Public Health England, said:

“Young people are more likely to be diagnosed with an STI than people aged 25 and older. STIs present a real threat to young people, and without using condoms, young people are putting themselves and their partners at risk of getting an STI.”

The impact of having an STI is significant

If left untreated STIs can cause major health issues. Such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, swollen or painful testicles, and reactive arthritis.

In pregnant women, STIs can lead to higher risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

The majority of STIs (like chlamydia) are symptomless, and gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and at risk of becoming untreatable in the future. PHE’s campaign, therefore, encourages condom use, as prevention is better than cure.

STI help in Bedfordshire

In Bedfordshire, sexual health clinics are provided by iCASH (integrated Contraception and Sexual Health). The service provides help on all aspects of sexual and reproductive health. Including contraception, STIs and HIV testing and treatment.

It has sexual health clinics in Bedford and Dunstable. A spokesperson for iCASH said:

“iCaSH is proud to support Public Health England’s ‘protect against STIs’ campaign.

“We are seeing an encouraging rise in young people seeking testing and treatment for STIs, but helping young people to prevent these infections by using condoms is even more important.

“Anyone can access free condoms, other contraception and STI treatment at our clinics.”

If you are worried you might have an STI, but don’t have any symptoms, you can order an ‘express test’ from iCaSH online.

This discreet home STI test is sent directly to your door and returned by post. The results are delivered by text message.

To find out more visit www.icash.nhs.uk or book an appointment on 0300 300 3030.