That September back-to-school feeling is upon us, and as the weather gets cold and you start hunting for the perfect winter coat, its easy to get nostalgic about those gorgeous few weeks you spent sunning yourself on the Med. But while your tan may be fading fast, you could have brought back a more lasting souvenir to remind you of that holiday fling: a rather unstylish STI.
It may be Sexual Health Week, but despite the government advert campaigns and scare stories of infertility were always bombarded with, it seems were still not completely clued up about safe sex. A new study by Lloyds Pharmacy shows that British women are still shockingly blasé about their health, with 37% of girls questioned unconcerned about catching an STI when having a fling and 42% of us admitting to not thinking to get checked up after a one-night stand.
The main cause of all this unprotected debauchery? Alcohol and drugs, which can impair judgement enough to make you forget to be safe, especially if you werent expecting to end up getting steamy with a sexy stranger after a night out with the girls. Pharmacies saw increases in STI testing in the summer months as we partied more both at home and away, and the great majority getting tested are young people - in 2011, 74% of Lloyds pharmacy customers who requested an STI test were aged between 18 and 35; of those, 11% tested positive.
If youre back at work and apparently symptom-free, its easy to think youve had a lucky escape, but not having outward signs of an infection doesnt mean theres nothing wrong. The best way to make sure the only thing youve got to keep from your holiday are the memories? Get tested.
What do you think? Have you or your friends ever gotten a bit carried away after a night on the tiles? Or are you super-safe and clued up when it comes to sex? Wed love to hear your views.
Sexual health week from 12th September - visit www.fpa.org.uk
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By Sian Lewis