Freedom Day sparks ‘super gonorrhoea’ fears as doc warns of summer STI spike

Brits have been warned to get tested as experts fear the lifting of social distancing measures will see a huge increase in sexually-transmitted diseases.

"Super gonorrhoea" – a worryingly anti-biotic resistant STI – has become increasingly common in the last few years and infection rates have noticeably increased with the lifting of restrictions between each Coronavirus lockdown.

Experts are now warning the public to get tested before they have a cheeky Freedom Day hook-up – as they may be unknowingly infecting more people with the disease.

According to the latest data, 'STI Tests' searches increased by 1000% in the last 12 months, suggesting a worrying number of people were not practising safe sex as we re-emerged from lockdown.

Online searches for ‘STI tests’ also peaked on July 5 after England won their last Euros game at the weekend, according to Google trends.

In the last 7 days, there have been spikes in searches between 3am – 5am as LloydsPharmacy report a 24% increase in sales for one of their female testing kits and 15% increase in one of their male STI test kits.

Dr Gigi Taguri, director of Medical Technology at Lloyds Pharmacy: "Whenever lockdown restrictions have been eased there has been evidence of the rate of STI infections rising.

"We saw a big spike on the Monday after the England (on July 3 against Ukraine). These events are clearly a big chance for people to let loose a little.

"It's clear that people are still having unprotected sex and with everything opening up this is only going to increase.

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"Pubs are fully open with no restrictions, while clubs and festivals are getting back up and running. It will be a paradise for single people cooped up for a large part of the last 18 months.

"These surges can be very difficult to cope with. Now is a good time for people to get tested to give them a clean bill of health."

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Symptoms of an STI can vary from person to person – and also differ between men and women.

Male symptoms can include bleeding or discharge from the penis or rectum, pain during ejaculation, tenderness in the testicles and rashes or sores around the genitals or anus.

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Female symptoms can include unexplained bleeding, pain during or after sex or when urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, unusual discharge and itching around the genital area or anus.

It is estimated that 50% of men and at least 70% of women with chlamydia, for instance, do not experience any symptoms.

To find out more information on STI's visit the Lloyd's Pharmacy blog.

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