The festive period is a time for celebration and enjoyment, and for many people it is also an excuse for overindulgence.
Overeating is one thing – although it may lead to indigestion and a few extra pounds around the waistline, its effects are usually short-term. But drinking too much alcohol, combined with the fun feel of festive parties, can result in more than just a sore head the following day.
Having unprotected casual sex (that is, without using a condom) has several possible consequences. Unwanted pregnancy aside, there is an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are easily passed on between partners, and because many people don’t develop symptoms, they may be unaware they even have the infection until they have given it to someone else.
According to the NHS, STIs can affect your overall health if left undiagnosed and therefore untreated. It is therefore important to practise safe, protected sex at all times, especially with new partners and in casual relationships.
And remember anyone, at any age, can catch an STI – it’s not confined to the young.
In addition, it is essential that if you do have unprotected sex you make sure you get regularly tested for various STIs. Most STIs can be successfully treated with antibiotics, and even the more serious ones such as HIV and AIDs are treatable these days, even though there is no cure.
If not spotted, many STIs can lead to serious and long-term health problems in the future, including infertility and heart problems.
Getting tested for STIs is quick, easy and painless – it can even be done yourself, at home, using free testing kits. London STI testing kits can be obtained from https://www.checkurself.org.uk.
According to Bexley Sexual Health, home testing kits are available for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C.
If you’re planning on overindulging this festive season, the best thing to do is to practise safe sex. Always carry a few condoms with you whenever you’re going to a party – you can get free ones from most health centres and sexual health clinics, if you can’t afford them.
And if you do have unprotected sex, make sure you get tested afterwards, before you pass anything on.