Doctors and nurses in Teesside are urging people to look after their sexual health over the Christmas and New Year party season.
Increased alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in the number of people having unplanned and unsafe sex (1). This means they are gambling with the risks of unwanted pregnancy and catching sexually transmitted infections, including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV.
Infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes do not always have visible symptoms which mean people may be unaware they are infected and can pass the infection on to others. Without prompt treatment, there can be complications later in life such as infertility.
Practising safe sex by using a condom is the surest way to ensure you do not become infected with a sexually transmitted infection. Looking after your sexual health is as important as having a healthy heart or general good health and it is important to take responsibility by using condoms and having regular check-ups.
Dr Simon Stockley, a Stockton based GP and board member of Assura Stockton which runs the service, said: “We all want to have a good time and enjoy our Christmas and New Year breaks, but it’s important to remember that alcohol and drugs can reduce inhibitions, leading people to take risks that they might later regret.
“15-24 year olds are particularly at risk of sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia which often have no symptoms but are easily treatable. The only way to be sure you haven’t contracted Chlamydia or many other sexually transmitted infections is to come in and get checked. Our service is free to NHS users, non-judgmental and discreet.
“The message is clear – enjoy the party season this Christmas and New Year, but stay safe and look after your sexual health.”
For advice and information on all sexual health concerns, patients should call 0333 000 0014 or visit www.sexualhealthteesside.nhs.uk.
(1) Crowe, LC; George, WH (1989). “Alcohol and human sexuality: Review and integration”. Psychological Bulletin 105 (3): 374–86
Notes to editors
Assura Stockton LLP:
- is a long-term collaborative joint venture partnership between Assura Medical and seven local GP practices and 49 GPs
- is owned 50:50 by the GP practices and Assura Medical and is run by a Clinical Management Board (CMB) which comprises three local GPs, two practice managers, a business director and an Assura Medical representative. Assura Medical provides all the necessary support in the way of funding, service and commercial expertise, IT, business processes and additional resources; and
- currently provides the Langbaurgh NHS Medical Centre in Redcar and the Stockton NHS Health Centre in Stockton.
As a partner to the NHS, Assura Medical has a track record of forming partnerships with groups of GPs across the country to provide high quality and safe healthcare services in primary and community care settings closer to the patient’s home.