Irish doctor warns about the spread of gonorrhoea this Christmas
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Irish people are at the greatest risk of contracting STIs such as gonorrhoea over the Christmas period, warns Ireland's largest STI service.
The GUIDe Clinic at St. James's Hospital is urging those planning on partying over Christmas to consider the consequences of unprotected sex by encouraging them to act responsible.
Typically, Ireland records the greatest increases in STI detections between January and March - which is linked to sexual activity over the festive party season, according to Dr. Dominic Rowley, a consultant in sexual health and HIV at the GUIDe clinic, St. James’s Hospital.
“All STIs are on the rise in Ireland," he says. "There is currently an outbreak of gonorrhoea both in Ireland and worldwide, with 78 million people infected every year. The number of Irish people diagnosed with HIV has also increased by an alarming amount with a rise of between 35-50% last year.
“Despite this, there has been very little discussion around the issue, or calls to increase the funding for treatment. This could be due in part to the stigma that still surrounds the issue of STIs.
“If the proper precautions are not taken, and if you don’t seek treatment after risky behaviour, the consequences can be serious. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility if left untreated and diseases like HPV can lead to painful genital warts that can be slow to cure.”
This message comes after a report on sexual behaviour and alcohol consumption among college students in Ireland found that 5% of those surveyed had contracted an STI.
The SHAG Survey was conducted among students at NUI Galway during 2015, with a total of 2,330 participants. Of these, 76% of females and 69% of males said they are less nervous about sex after drinking, while 35% of females and 58% of males agree that they would have sex with people that they wouldn't when sober.
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