"A London sexual health chief has warned Britain will be faced with a gonorrhoea pandemic once the lockdown ends."
Hoping for a summer of love? As people attempt to navigate lockdown sex and imagine a sexual landscape where COVID isn’t in the headlines, medical experts are predicting a boom in STIs.
As we anticipate leaving lockdown, it’s more important than ever to take control of our sexual health and safeguard against the predicted surge in STIs such as gonorrhoea. While 2020 figures are yet to be released by Public Health England, rates of infection for gonorrhoea increased by 26% in 2019 alone. We’ll likely see a tiered approach to relaxing of restrictions and it’s important to be pragmatic about Londoners’ sexual health. Whilst we of course advocate following government guidelines and safe sex practices, we anticipate that some people will be engaging in sexual activity swiftly post-lockdown (if not before). The past year has been a long, isolating period of time for many and we predict a boom in sexual activity. However, we believe education is empowering, so rather than sharing advice purely for people who will stick to the rules, we also acknowledge that some will not - and it’s important to help them stay as safe as possible if they choose.
Statistics show that there was an 85% reduction in people using sexual health clinics in lockdown 1.0. The main thing we want people to know is that whilst GP surgeries and sexual health clinics are keeping in-person appointments to a minimum, they are open for telephone consultations and if appropriate, appointments can be made right now. As a society, our healthcare focus for the past year has mainly focused on hand washing, sanitising and masking up. Remember, it’s just as important as it was pre-pandemic to cover up - wear a condom to protect both yourself and your partner(s). Before having sex with someone new, take an STI check - postal STI test kits can also be ordered online and can provide accurate results for peace of mind.
Dr John McSorley's statement has provided a fantastic opportunity to bring the conversation back to sexual health and empower people to take charge of their intimate wellness, pandemic or not.
Join the conversation over on our HANX Life forum here.