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STD

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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Condoms have been around for decades, and now you can even buy all types of styles- ribbed, flavoured, heated, extra-thin etc.

It can slip everyone's mind that they help prevent unwanted STIs and pregnancy, particularly when you're about to get frisky with someone and they decline the condom offer.

We've heard the excuses before; "I'm too big to wear a condom", "It doesn't feel good", "It just falls off", "I can't orgasm while wearing one".

golden girls condom GIF

Blah, blah blah; the contraceptives available for women can cause long-term health issues, changes their entire hormonal system, often induces anxiety, migraine, dizziness or causes spotted bleeding.

The list of side effects goes on, but men often say no to a simple condom. The excuses often aren't valid, so tell your boy to wrap it up stat. Luckily for him, we've got a hack to help ease any discomfort.

Cosmopolitan's sex researcher Maureen Miller, PhD, offered some advice;

“Add a few drops of water-based lube to the inside of your condom before you put it on. Men report being amazed at how much better it feels.” SO SIMPLE.

emma stone snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Many condoms come with lubrication on the outside, adding just one or two drops into the tip of the condom before putting it on and rolling it down can make the world of difference for a guy's comfort.

If lube feels unreal for you, we're fairly sure it'll feel great for him too. You only need to add a little bit of lube, however. Too much will make the condom more susceptible to falling off.

Anti-baby note to remember: Oil-based lube can break the condom or thin the walls, so if you're not on any other contraceptive, make sure it's water-based lubricant. We recommend the YES brand.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Condoms are mighty hard to break, although not impossible. The number one reason for condom breakage is that the condom was not put on properly," Miller says. 

"The tip must be squeezed as the condom is being rolled down the penis so that there is room for ejaculate. Otherwise, the condom can burst," she adds. Remember: Safe sex is hot as f*ck.

There are plenty of ways to make putting on condoms super sexy; “Using your mouth, tongue, and hands, make the project of putting on a condom really erotic." Damn, we need to try this.

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Worrying new figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre have revealed rising rates of young people being diagnosed as HIV positive in Ireland.

An expert described how sixteen people were diagnosed last week with the illness, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is at an "alarming" rate.

The age group of 20-year-olds until the age of 29 are the age group at high risk of getting an infection.

Concern’s team leader for health and HIV Breda Gahan said:

“I’m thinking of those 16 people who got that big blow of news last week and how it will affect them in terms of travelling, future job prospects, stigma and treatment.

“I would say unfortunately the stigma has increased both in Ireland and globally. On top of that, who are you going to tell? Are you going to tell your partner or your ex partners or family? No one wants to carry the burden alone," Breda continued.

“I don’t want to frighten people or say if you have sex you’re going to get HIV that’s not the case. But people don’t realise a lot of the cases of HIV are home grown.”

Even though there is access to free treatment for AIDS in Ireland, Gahan feels that the Government need to do more to raise awareness about the disease.

“HIV prevention is failing, it just hasn’t been invested in despite the increasing number of infections. The Government should get those who have the skills to travel to primary schools to work with those who are age appropriate."

Gahan added;

“Education is the social vaccine. Girls and boys need to understand how to protect themselves from life-threatening infections. There is a serious lack of accurate information, there’s a lot of myths and misconceptions.

“We also need to make services more adolescent and user friendly. No one wants to go to an STI clinic.”

Recent figures from the HPSC report show that 239 cases of HIV have been reported so far this year.  4,193 people have contracted chlamydia, 1,341 have gonorrhoea, and 793 have herpes.

In comparison to last year, Ireland has seen an increase of almost 1,200 infections.

Breda Gahan explained the reason for the apparent lack of concern among youth:

“There’s an increase in STIs among young people because of complacency and people aren’t dying so there’s less fear. Young people don’t really care if they get an STI because it’s treatable.”

The expert says that we need to start educating children in primary school aged 10 to 12; 

“As a nurse, I would go as far to say that it’s too late to educate kids at secondary school level. Hormones are hopping at that age.

“It’s alarming and concerning to see the increase of numbers. No sex can be totally safe – there’s always some risk, for example a condom breaking. But there needs to be education about safer sex.”

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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.

safe sex teen vogue GIF

“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.

std chlamydia GIF

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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The number of sexually transmitted infections grew by 10 per cent in 2016, according to the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, and gonorrhea saw one one the biggest spikes.

If you don't already have a semi-friendly relationship with the nurse at your local free clinic, 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. 

Luckily, gonorrhea is one of the more treatable STIs out there, so if you have contracted the ailment, it wont be forever. 

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

However, you can have gonorrhea for an extended period of time and not show any symptoms.

When the symptoms do arrive, they can include a slightly unsavoury yellowish or greenish-white discharge, itching around the front or back passage, and burning or pain when peeing. Ouch. 

The illness can also be marked by soreness or redness in the throat, and be accompanied by eye infections such as a discharge or red eye.

Women can also suffer with stomach pain brought on by the disease. 

The only way to protect yourself from the STI is to use condoms during every sexual encounter and never share sex toys with anyone (not that we'd make a habit of it).

If you think you might be a card-carrying member of the G club, or think that you may have contracted any kind of sexually transmitted infection, it's important to get it checked ASAP to avoid passing it to others or creating complications in your sexual health further down the line. 

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New research has revealed that you’re more likely to get an STD,  if you use a dating app to meet your sexual partners.

Researchers got this information from 7,000 gay men who attended a sexual health clinic in LA between 2011 and 2013.

It was found that 36% of these men chose dating apps as their preferred way of meeting lovers and as a result were more likely to have common STDs, than the men who used other methods of meeting people. They were 23% more likely to be infected with gonorrhoea and 35% more likely to have chlamydia – however, there was no difference in the likelihood of being infected with either HIV or syphilis.

One of the theories for this is that since technology is making the process of meeting someone much faster, you are more likely to engage in risky or anonymous encounters.

Stay safe girls!

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When over 1,200 people were asked whether or not they would have sex with someone they knew had an STI, the feedback was pretty scary.

About 19% answered ‘yes’, up to a quarter said it would depend on the STI and 26% said they would have sex with someone with an STI because they believe a condom would keep them protected – oh dear.

It’s no surprise that nearly one in five of those interviewed admitted they once had an STI in their lifetime. Even more shocking, nearly half of those interviewed admitted they’ve had unprotected sex with someone who had an STI.

These figures are quite frightening, if we’re honest. There’s no reason to jump into bed with someone who has an STD – it really is a big risk on your part.

Your health is your wealth, ladies – remember that.

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