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chlamydia

A clinical trial testing the first ever vaccine to treat chlamydia has passed the initial round of testing, according to The Journal.

Scientists have now moved closer to a superior treatment for the STI after patients reacted well to a newly developed vaccine.

The Lancet journal have published a study which found that the first trial of the vaccine discovered it was safe and provoked the hoped-for immune system response.

Over 131 million people become infected by chlamydia annually, and the disease is undeniably a global issue. The highest number of new cases are discovered in teenagers and young adults.

Chlamydia is known as the 'silent' STI, as it usually fails to produce symptoms. Scientists are hopeful that a vaccine is the best way to fight the disease, which is reaching epidemic proportions.

National treatment programmes have predominantly failed to curb high rates, including testing and antibiotics. Those infected potentially develop partial or temporary immunity to the STI.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Researchers at Imperial College London and the Statens Serum Institiut, Copenhagen, were successful in their initial vaccine test.

The trial included 35 women, and two formulations of the vaccine were trialed. Scientists advice focusing on just one formulation going forward.

“A global unmet medical need exists for a vaccine against genital chlamydia,” said Prof Peter Andersen of the Statens Serum Institut, who called the extent of the disease an “epidemic”. 

One-in-six women experience inflammation of the pelvis due to chlamydia, which can lead to chronic pain, infertility or ectopic pregnancy as well as increasing susceptibility to other STIs.

“Although many more years of research are needed before this vaccine is marketed, we are planning the next stage of research,” said Helene B Juel of the Statens Serum Institut. 

Almost 8,000 cases of chlamydia were reported between 2017 and 2018 nationwide. Latest figures show that there was a 7 percent increase in sexually transmitted infections during those years.

Men made up a higher number of cases of STIs overall but for chlamydia, men and women were equally likely to become infected. 

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New research has shaken us to our very sexual core…almost HALF of Irish people have never been tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Shame on you, lads.

A disturbing 47 percent of Irish people have never gone for a sexual health check-up, according to data gathered by Censuswide.

Medicine Direct commissioned the study as part of their 'Fruit of your Loins' campaign, which emphasises the symptoms of STIs and aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Only 39 percent of the survey's respondents claimed to practice safe sex, while just over half of those quizzed said they would be confident about recognising the symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. Jaysis.

One-in-five (22 percent) of those asked said they wouldn't be confident in recognising symptoms, and one-in-eight (12 percent) said they were "not at all confident" in spotting signs of an infection

Almost one-in-six (16 percent) of Irish people admitted that they would never divulge details about their sexual past to their partner. 44 percent said they would discuss their sexual history once in a serious relationship.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Worryingly, two out of three people (66 percent) said they wouldn't consult a doctor straight away if they had a sexual health concern. It's incredibly vital to be more responsible for your body, and break free of shame.

Researching symptoms online was the first move for 18 percent of participants, saying they would turn to sites like Google for advice. 17 percent said they would at least consult a medical website, but it can be difficult to know which ones are accurate.

Over a quarter of Irish people (28 percent) rated the information handed out on STIs and symptoms in school as 'poor', or 'awful'. That's Catholic Church-state education for ya…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Men were slightly more likely to talk to their doctor about a sexual health concern than women, with 65 percent of men stating this as opposed to 60 percent of women. This may be due to the gender pain gap in healthcare.

Interestingly, men were less likely to confide in their partner or a friend than women. A quarter of men would wait until symptoms developed before getting an STI check, instead of 21 percent of women.

Only 8 percent of men said they would never get checked after unprotected sex, compared to 7 percent of women. These is still shockingly low numbers…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct,Hussain Abdeh, commented on the discoveries:

“In light of our findings, we made our fruity guide to STI symptoms to try and raise the conversation about positive sexual health and to make it easier to spot potential STI symptoms.

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“It’s worth remembering that for some STIs, such as chlamydia, there can be no visible symptoms – but they can be very damaging if left untreated.

"That’s why it’s so important to work regular STI testing into your life and treat it as a normal part of your lifestyle as a sexually responsible individual." he added.

It's imperative that checking your sexual health regularly becomes the norm.

Remember folks; if in doubt, check it out.

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You can find more information about STI symptoms on the Medicine Direct website, and St James' Hospital also has a free STI clinic called The GUIDE.

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Now would be the time to get yourself checked if you have any suspicions that there might be some odd behaviour happening in your nether regions, because STI numbers in Ireland are on the rise.

New figures from the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Herpes have all seen an increase in diagnoses. 

Chlamydia remains Ireland's most wide-spread sexually transmitted infection, with Gonorrhea and Herpes following in second and third place. 

Chlamydia cases have risen from 6247 in 2016 to 6896 in 2017, and it's maintaining it's top spot on the STI charts. 

Symptoms of the disease include abnormal vaginal discharge and a burning sensation when urinating, and can impact fertility if left untreated. 

However, it is completely curable. 

Gonorrhea on the other hand has seen an increase of 18.6pc. 

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that can be treated and cured with specific antibiotics, according to the HSE. 

The symptoms include yellowish or greenish-white vaginal discharge, itching and burning or pain when peeing.

Herpes is also on the rise, with an increase of 19.6pc.

Syphilis has seen a dramatic increase of 50.4pc. Symptoms include genital sores, flu-like symptoms and muscle aches. 

69pc of those with STIs were aged under 30, according to the report. 

To protect yourself from STIs, make sure to use condoms during every sexual encounter, and avail of free, regular STI screenings.

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Getting an STI test is often something we don't think of until it's too late, but these new figures should definitely motivate you to pick up the phone and make that appointment.

Positive cases of chlamydia increased by 32% last year, according to new figures from the Dublin Well Woman Centre Annual Report. The centre detected 253 cases of the STI last year, up almost a third on 2013.

Last year's figure is the second highest in 13 years, an alarming statistic considering the amount of sexual health education easily available these days.

As well as chlamydia testing, the Well Woman Clinic offers a full screen for STIs and includes bloods, swabs and any necessary referrals, prescriptions or follow-up.

The figures also noted an increase in women choosing long-action reversible contraception choices, like the Implanon implant, a small flexible plastic rod which is placed under the skin, giving contraceptive protection for 3 years.

While they do not prevent against STIs, many women choose LARCs as a more reliable method of protection from unplanned pregnancy. "LARCs are highly effective, have minimal side effects and are a ‘fit and forget’ solution to contraception," says Dr Shirley McQuade, Medical Director of the Well Woman Centre.

However for guaranteed protection from STIs, especially during sex with a new partner, condoms are still always recommended.

Chlamydia Fact Sheet

What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection which can be contracted by having vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who is also infected. 

How do I know if I have it?
Unlike other STIs, chlamydia often has no symptoms, though some women do present with abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when peeing. Condoms offer the greatest protection against chlamydia and STIs in general, so it is extremely important to get tested if you have had unprotected sex with a new partner recently or suspect you may be at risk.

What happens if I have chlamydia?
Luckily, chlamydia can be easily detected during an STI test and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. If left untreated the STI can result in serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system. 

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