Friday 19 January 2018

Dr Derek Freedman: Play safe on night out and avoid months of anxiety

With growing antibiotic resistance casual sex may have lifelong consequences

Dr Derek Freedman

All sports carry a risk of injury, and sex, after all, is the ultimate 'contact sport'! The problem with 'sex injuries' is that they do not show up immediately, like a bruise or a broken bone. Sexually transmitted infections are much more insidious. They are silent usually, especially in girls and in extra-genital sites such as the mouth or back passage. Even if they do cause symptoms, such as a discharge from the penis, as with gonorrhoea or chlamydia, or a sore as with herpes or syphilis, it may be days to weeks to months before the symptoms appear.

This gives rise to opportunities for the infections to be passed on to others. Some infections, such as Human Papilloma Virus, which causes warts, are so commonplace in the population that almost everyone has had the virus at some stage during their lives. However, only a very small percentage of those with the infection will actually grow warts; usually cigarette smokers or those with local skin irritation.

The articles in today's newspaper describe a large variety of sexual situations and opportunities. In fact recent demographic studies in England, the United States and Switzerland, have shown a slight reduction in sexual risk-taking in the general population. Perhaps we have reached saturation point.

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