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Sex & Relationships

The STD Elephant in the room

HOI speak to Channel 4’s, The Sex Clinic’s Sarah Mulindwa about the importance of sexual health, breaking stigmas that surround STD’s and why NOW is the perfect time to be getting checked!

For so many people, the thought of going to the STI clinic is a terrifying thought. Firstly no one wants the news that they have picked up any kind of disease or infection down below and the thought of bumping into someone you might know in the waiting room is something of a nightmare.

We spoke with Channel 4, The Sex Clinic’s, Sarah Mulindwa on why it is so important to get regularly checked and how you can even do this from the comfort of your own homes. Sarah also discusses how the recent events of COVID-19 has given everyone a chance to re-claim their sexual health.

“Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown has meant that if you’re single, access to sex has been greatly limited. The restrictions imposed to combat Covid 19 may cause frustration for some, however it has allowed a rare window of opportunity for everybody to get tested!
The virus has created a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to drive out Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) once and for all.

People who have been following the lockdown rules and guidelines (which is the vast majority) have been abstaining from sex with new partners, meaning that if they happen to have an infection, they would not be able to pass it on. As we move towards easing Lockdown, NOW is the time to get tested! The more people who test and confirm they have no infection or receive treatment if they do, the closer we get to eradicating infections and keeping them at bay for a long time! With home test kits available, it means that you can screen for infections without having to leave the house!

Although we are slowly starting to get back to normality, Covid 19 is a new strain of the Coronaviruses, meaning that research is still being carried out for us to know more about it and more importantly discover how best to treat it. It is still very much present, and without a vaccine currently available we must still be vigilant with general cleanliness and wearing face masks. This means that it would be wise to continue abstaining from sexual intercourse with new/multiple partners as we now know how easily the virus can be passed on. In doing so, we are killing two birds with one stone as we would equally reduce the risk of acquiring and transferring STI’s.

There has never been a time where we have collectively stopped having Sex (unless you live with your partner) as a nation, and we may never get this chance again to massively cut down on infection rates.

Infections like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis have been on a steady increase for several years now. With the prevision of PREP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) a drug available for people considered high risk for HIV, it means that unsafe sex practice due to the lowered risk of HIV has caused a surge in these other infections in these communities. And so, the importance for testing before lockdown is fully lifted, especially for Gay men is critical. In young people between the ages of 15-25, Chlamydia is highly prevalent. If it goes untreated, it can cause complications and painful symptoms and so now is a great time for this generation to take back control of their sexual health!

If people are diagnosed with an infection during this period, it means that they can be treated and there are less infectious people.

Things like dating apps and social media have made sex more accessible but now there are restrictions on who we have sex with, it provides a rare opportunity for everyone to reclaim their sexual well-being and when we do get back out there, we can be more assured that we are less likely to catch an infection or pass one on if as many people as possible get tested!”

Contributor: Sarah Mulindwa

Instagram: @sarah.mulindwa

Artwork by Karis Simms