Syphilis is a pretty grim disease. If you don’t believe us feel free to Google it but, trust us, we’re saving you a click for once.
Unfortunately, in the last four years, cases of the gross infection have risen a whopping 76 per cent according to a report from Public Health England (PHE).
The disease, which is caused by a bacterial infection passed on during unprotected sex, causes painful ulcers to develop around the genitals and it’s about as pleasant as it sounds, The Huffington Post reports.
Thankfully, it’s quite easily treated through antibiotics – although if left untreated it can lead to more serious issues like heart disease, strokes, and even dementia.
PHE have suggested that the disease has become more prevalent among gay men and younger people due to high levels of unprotected sex.
From 2012 to 2015, syphilis cases skyrocketed from 3,001 to 5,288, while from 2014 and 2015 alone, cases increased by 20 per cent.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at PHE, said:
The new statistics show STI rates are still very high among gay men and young adults.
We need to do more to raise awareness about STIs and how they can be prevented, especially the effectiveness of using condoms.We recommend that anyone having sex with a new or casual partner uses condoms and tests regularly for HIV and STIs.
Meanwhile, Dr Helen Webberley, a dedicated GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, has commented on the worrying decline since the 1980’s in the levels of safe sex.
Casual sex, sex with ‘commercial sex workers’ and sex with multiple partners is increasing all the time.
These risk-taking behaviours are most common amongst the young, who feel that nothing can happen to them and, more surprisingly perhaps, amongst older people out of long-term relationships, who wrongly perceive that STIs only happen to the young.
Webberley’s message was clear – people can still have fun, they just need to take precautions to avoid getting sick.
Pretty basic stuff really.