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by Robert MacKay, Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Categories: Sexual Health

Experts at St. Helen’s GUM clinic have warned us that a cocktail of sun cream, sand and sex on the beach is a recipe for disaster. If you are heading on a late summer holiday this year, you don’t want to get more then you bargained for. According to the health experts here, after the holiday season, they see a huge increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections. And this is not just as a result of risky encounters with one’s summer fling. St. Helen’s Health Improvement Team would like to remind young people that cosmetics like sun cream, after sun and lip gloss all contribute to making the condoms less reliable due to the oil content of the products we slap on during the holiday period. Even when you are playing it safe, you need to be extra careful. The oil damages the rubber, rendering it less protective. Washing your hands and genitals after using such products will prevent this damage to the condom.

The STIs observed by the St. Helen’s GUM Clinic every summer, include, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, genital warts and syphilis with chlamydia being the most popular of the STIs especially among the 18 to 24 year olds. Chlamydia is the most dangerous of these considering it is often symptomless and there is a possibility of becoming infertile if it is left undiagnosed. If diagnosed however, chlamydia is easily treated. The other STIs are not good but they do normally produce symptoms (not always however) so at least they have a higher chance of being detected and dealt with.

It is so easy to get tested and it is even easier to use protection in the first place. Summer loving doesn’t seem so romantic when you have contracted something nasty downstairs.

The number of STIs reported has continued on an upward trajectory in recent years, with 16 to 24 year olds representing the age group most affected. They only make up approximately 12% of the population and yet they represent 50% of the diagnosed STIs in the United Kingdom. We have new figures out from the Health Protection Agency next week and we will report these as soon as we have them.

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