Provisional data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has shown that there has been a 7% increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Ireland in 2018 compared to 2017.
According to the HSE, STIs are most prominent in young people aged between 15-24 and men who have sex with men (MSM). The provisional data showed that men were presenting with STIs more frequently than women. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men were disproportionately affected and are known to be more at risk for some viral and enteric infections. For specific information for MSM on preventing STIs, see the Man2Man website.
The most common STIs were chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis.
The HSE national condom distribution service distributes free condoms and lubricants to third level colleges, festival and nightlife venues, NGOs and community organisations. The HSE is reiterating the importance of using condoms to protect against STIs, following the release of the latest HPSC report statistics.
Helen Deely, programme leader of the sexual health and crisis pregnancy programme, said: “Many STIs do not have any symptoms. If you think you have an STI or you may have been at risk, it is important to get tested and if necessary, be treated.”
Deely stressed the importance of early treatment of STIs, particularly for HIV, as commencing treatment early on can stop HIV transmission to others. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a course of HIV medication that aims to prevent HIV infection following a recent exposure to HIV.
For the prevention of STIs, Sexualwellbeing.ie recommends regular STI tests, the use of condoms or dental dams, and avoiding the shared use of sex toys unless they have been washed properly between each persons’ use or a new condom has been applied for each use.
HIV and STI testing is available for free at public STI clinics.
as well as through many GPs, student health services and NGOs at a fee.
Testing is also available through many GPs, student health services and NGOs at a fee.
LGBT Ireland’s free and confidential helpline is on 1890 929 539 or visit www.lgbt.ie
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