Wednesday 21 August 2019

UL students warned over outbreak of sex diseases on campus

University of Limerick campus
University of Limerick campus

Eilish O'Regan and David Raleigh

The University of Limerick has said it is working closely with the HSE following "an outbreak" of sexually transmitted diseases on campus.

An email which warned "urgent alert to all students" was issued to the student population by the UL Student Health Centre advising of "an outbreak of gonorrhoea and chlamydia on campus".

The email was sent out at 11.07am yesterday, warning the university population: "These are sexually transmitted diseases as a result of unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex."

The email advised students to contact their GP or the student health services "if you have had unprotected sex or have any concerns".

Dr Jack Lambert of the Mater Hospital in Dublin said there is a increase in sexually transmitted diseases generally and this is partly due to people thinking they don't need to use a condom if they are performing non-traditional sex.

Doctors are seeing more gonorrhoea and chlamydia in the heterosexual population.

"Gonorrhoea and syphilis used to be seen in high risk groups," said Dr Lambert.

Dr Bernadette Walsh, Director of Student Services at UL, said this year its student health centre has been proactively screening for sexually transmitted diseases and this may account for increased detection.

"According to the most up-to-date figures that we have access to, there have been 97 cases of gonorrhoea in counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary during 2016. Fourteen of these are associated with this campus, which consists of approximately 15,000 students," she said.

"We have taken the proactive step, working closely with the HSE, of sending out a strongly-worded message to our student community alerting them to this public health issue because we take the well-being of our students very seriously.

"The health of all students is paramount. Therefore, we would advise any student who may have a concern about any element of their mental or physical health to seek appropriate medical treatment."

All students who present are currently being seen at the student health centre, with or without an appointment.

"As is best practice, UL has rolled out an awareness campaign contacting every student directly," a UL spokesperson added.

Chlamydia tends to be particularly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults. It affects more than 6,800 men and women here annually. Around one in 10 infected men and almost half of women don't experience any symptoms of gonorrhoea.

Irish Independent

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