Health chiefs call for action amid rise in sexually transmitted infections
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Health chiefs are calling on residents in Cambridgeshire to get tested and keep safe following a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The calls come after an increase testing positive for STIs in the county since Covid-19 lockdown measures were lifted earlier this year.
Dr Graham McKinnon, consultant at sexual health clinic iCaSH in Peterborough, is one who is urging people to get tested if they have concerns.
“STIs are on the increase across the region,” Dr McKinnon said.
“We would urge people to make sure they use condoms, and if they have any concerns following sex to get a test.
“They should also get tested when they have a new sexual contact.”
There is particular concern about people testing positive for syphilis, which can be passed on through sexual contact where symptoms may not show for at least two weeks.
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Health officials say there has been a sharp spike in syphilis cases in the East of England, but although it is curable, it could cause damage to the body if not treated.
“There is particular concern around syphilis, an infection that can be passed on through sexual contact including oral sex and which may not show any symptoms for weeks or months,” said Dr McKinnon.
“This can have long-term health impacts on anyone who receives it, so it is important you get tested to make sure treatment can begin early, and to stop it being spread to anyone else.”
The most common signs are ulcers on the genitals or in the mouth, skin rashes and swollen lymph glands, which can change over time.
Syphilis produces no symptoms and the infection is only found when a blood test is performed.
Some develop one or more of the following:
• Ulcers on the genitals, near the anus or in the mouth
• A skin rash
• Swollen lymph glands, for example in the groin or neck.
Symptoms may occur as early as a week after infection, but could take months before the person notices a problem.
People are also being encouraged to make sure they use condoms when having sex to prevent the spread of all STIs.
For more information or to book a test, contact your local iCaSH clinic at: https://www.icash.nhs.uk/ or call 0300 300 3030.
You can also order test kits online at: https://www.icash.nhs.uk/contraception-sexual-health/postal-self-test-kits.