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23rd November 2011

Ask Keir: Sexual health

Lifestyle’s new health column brought to you from Keir Stone-Brown

Ask Keir is a new column aiming to answer all your health questions. If you want to know about that funny looking lump that won’t go away, why that student doctor keeps poking you or anything at all to do with health get in touch at: [email protected]

All questions will of course be kept confidential and anonymous.

Question of the week:

I’ve heard you just have to take one pill to get rid of chlamydia so what’s the big deal?

We hear a lot about chlamydia because it’s very common, with more than 1 in 20 under 25s having it.

What is it?

It’s a bacterial infection spread by sex that can affect both men and women. The symptoms aren’t pretty but it’s important to recognise them.

Women can have:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Pain passing urine
  • No symptoms

Men can have:

  • Pain passing urine
  • Discharge from the end of their penis
  • No symptoms

What’s the worry?

Chlamydia, if untreated, can cause women to become infertile and can also reduce the fertility of men.  No one needs to be told that jeopardising your future family is a risk not worth taking and that’s not the end of it. With over 80% of women and 50% of men having no symptoms there is an increased chance of it being passed unknowingly.

What can you do about it?

Get a check up at your local GP or sexual health clinic. Almost anyone can have the test, it’s free and you can do it yourself. The result usually takes up to two weeks.

If it comes back positive the doctor will prescribe antibiotics and in most cases that successfully treats the infection. However, as always, prevention in the first place is best so practice safe sex by using condoms.

If you have any other worries contact your local GP.

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