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After a festive season where Brits have finally been able to come within six feet of each other – pun definitely intended – STI's are back on the rise.
January is an annual peak time for sexually transmitted infections – and this year's frisky festive season has posed some new risks.
According to the Lloyds Pharmacy data, 'STI Tests' searches increased by 1000% as we re-emerged from lockdown, suggesting a worrying number of people were not practising safe sex.
That's why Dr Manoj Malu, Director and Founder of Clearwell Clinics has issued a warning to look out for any alarming symptoms around your bits this New Year.
Speaking to the Daily Star, the doc said: "All common STIs rise in January – they go hand in hand. We see a lot of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes.
"Symptoms of gonorrhoea for men could be irritation in the water pipe, pain passing urine and discharge.
"For women, a change in discharge is common but they could also experience abdominal and pelvic pain. Chlamydia displays itself in a similar way. But the symptoms of gonorrhoea are usually more pronounced.
"Symptoms of herpes are sores, ulcers and or blisters for both men and women.
"Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is one of the commonest STIs worldwide and mainly affects immigrant populations, especially Black Caribbean women. It presents with smelly discharge.
"Mycoplasma genitalium is a new-ish STI and behaves very similar to Chlamydia.
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"If you have symptoms suggestive of chlamydia, and tested negative chlamydia, make sure that you have been tested for mycoplasma genitalium.
"This test is available on the NHS on face to face appointments but not as part of NHS online tests."
The vast majority of positive STI cases are usually chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes.
But the medic says they rise across the board after Christmas due to 'our behaviours.'
He added: "We are more sexually active in the lead up to Christmas. Many of us are going to more parties, socialising and drinking more, there is more opportunity to have sex.
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"Access to sexual health services becomes limited due to bank holidays, and most of these infections take 1-2 weeks to produce symptoms after someone has acquired the infection.
"All of this contributes to the New Year spike in cases of STIs."
Thankfully, 'super-gonorrhoea' or multi-resistant gonorrhoea is still rare in the UK but unlucky Brits can still be treated with extra visits to the clinic and trial of unusual antibiotics.
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