Don’t neglect sexual health, experts warn

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LEVELS of several sexually transmitted infections are higher in Rugby then elsewhere in Warwickshire, with syphilis over 50 per cent more prevalent than anywhere else in the county.

According to a report on the borough from the joint director of public health, the sexually transmitted infection (STI) has an infection rate of 6.4 per 100,000, compared to 2.8 for the rest of Warwickshire and 4.8 for the rest of England.

The disease causes sores on the genitals and on other parts of the body, but it can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Infection rates of other sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, warts and HIV are also more prevalent in Rugby than elsewhere in Warwickshire.

Rugby GP Dr Adrian Canale-Parola said: “According to the figures only six or so people have the illness in Rugby, so it’s important to bear in mind that it only takes two or three more cases to bump the figures up substantially.

“My advice would be the same as Warwickshire PCT’s, that if anyone is concerned about their sexual health they should contact their GP or local GUM clinic.”

A spokesman from NHS Warwickshire added: “Syphilis is one of the less common sexually transmitted infections but if left untreated, can cause serious health problems that affect the whole body, including damage to the nervous system. It can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy and cause serious complications. A syphilis infection can be detected through painless ulcers on the genitals but some people will have no symptoms. The infection can usually be treated with a course of antibiotics.”

The NHS encourages anyone who is sexually active to look after their sexual health, always use a condom and to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections.

The spokesman added: “Anyone who is concerned should arrange to see their GP, make an appointment at the GUM clinic or visit the walk in centre at St Cross Hospital on Barby Road.”

Anyone worried about sexual health can contact St Cross hospital’s sexual health (GUM) clinic on (01788) 663218 or log onto www.respectyourself.info.