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Sexually transmitted infections

Technology affects our ways of meeting and gathering

There is an app for everything. If you are in a foreign country and you don’t understand a sign, there is an app that will translate it for you. If you are listening to a song but you don’t know what song it is, another app will tell you. If you are wondering where you left your keys, there has to be an app somewher that tells you where they are.

From currency conversion to fashion updates, phone applications have sprouted everywhere and become a part of our life, sometimes as useful tools, sometimes as a source of enternatinment. And if there are apps for things as useless as playing fart sounds (yes, it actually exists), of course there will be some to help satisfy one of the most basic human needs: sex.

Some phone apps are designed to help people find sexual partners. Users log in their information and other users can locate them, or be notified of which ones are closer to them. The app uses the location of the user’s phones to create a map and tell people who is the closest registerd person who is looking for sex.

This application increases significantly the chances of sexual encounters because it connects people with the same interest. You could say "that’s some great app indeed! Do you know how hard it is to find people with whom get laid? People who actually agree? Now my chances are bigger than ever!". Well, that’s true, but you should also see the downside. More sexual encounters -and with people who also has many sexual encounters with other people- means a higher risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI). And this is not just common sense. There is an actual scientific research that proves so.

In the United States, a study was run amongst the patients of a sexual health clinic as you can read in this BBC article and showed clear results. People were more likely to get an STI if they used phone apps to find a sexual partner than if they had met them in clubs or online websites.

The latest STI statistics for England based on an investigation from Public Health England show an increase in the diagnosis of certain STIs, chlamydia -a sexually transmitted bacteria - being on top. According to this study, almost a half million of English people have been diagnosed with STIs in 2013.

How to prevent STIs

The simplest and most effective way of preventing STIs is sexual abstinence. However, this is like saying "the best way of preventing bike accidents is, do not ride a bike at all". If you still want to ride a bike because it’s fun and it’s healthy, nobody should tell you not to. However, it would be a really good thing that you put on a helmet. Just in case.

The best helmet against sexually transmitted diseases is a condom. Nevertheless, many people underestimate its importance, or even are not properly instructed on how they should use it. In example, a condom should always be used from the very beginning of physical contact and for vaginal, anal or oral sex. For lesbian sex or cunnilingus -oral sex on a woman- a dental dam should be used. A dental dam is a square of thin plastic that covers the genitalia and serves the same purpose of a condom.

STI diagnosis and treatment

Most STIs are treatable if diagnosed early, but also most of them are asymtomatic, which means that you don’t feel them until it’s too late. For this reason, you should get tested for STIs regularly if you are in a risk group - for example, if you have unprotected sex or several sex partners or you are a man who has sex with other men-. Other risky situations include a broken condom and a new sexual partner.

You can find the link to the National Health Service list of GUM clinics. These services are free and confidential and here you should never be judged or penalized for having a STI regardless the condition in which you got it; you will only get advice on how to take care of yourself and others better.

If you suspect that you might have an STI, it is understandable that you want a quick service. For these cases and greater convenience, there is GST Sexual Health that provides STI tests without the need of appointments, quick 24 hours results and it is absolutely confidential. You receive the test instructions and materials in the mail, provide the sample and post it back. Within a day, the sample will be tested and you will get the results. In case that you have a possitive result, this service informs you of the treatment needed -usually some antibiothics are enough to cure most STIs - they will provide you with a doctor appointment if necesary.

Getting tested is easy so you should get to a clinic today and find out your status.


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  • Sexually transmitted infections

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