Sexual Health Week takes place in the UK from 11-17 September 2023.
This year, event organisers Brook want to raise awareness of how empowering people to access sexual healthcare keeps them safe. This means giving individuals access to contraception, testing and treatment, as well as educating them on what consent, healthy relationships and pleasure mean.
Brook’s 2023 theme of ‘playing it safe’ is also about helping people navigate the world safely both online and offline, while delivering accessible sexual health services whenever and wherever people need them. This has never been more important in a world where, currently, half of all sexual health appointment requests are denied.
And as well as sparking sexual health conversations, Brook’s sexual health and wellbeing experts will also be highlighting the link between sexual health and mental health.
The importance of sexual health testing
Sexual Health Week 2023 also highlights the importance of regular sexual health testing, which is something we understand very well at AlphaBiolabs.
Recent statistics show that in the UK sexually transmitted infections are increasing. In 2022 alone, 392,453 sexually transmitted infections were diagnosed in England, which represents a 24% rise from the year before. The same research found a 50% increase in gonorrhoea, a 24% increase in chlamydia, and a 15% increase in syphilis since 2021. There has also been a 26% increase in STI diagnoses among people aged 15 to 24 since 2021.
While these statistics highlight the importance of regular testing, we should also remember that many individuals will remain undiagnosed and therefore the total number of infections is likely to be significantly higher.
In addition, many STIs don’t always present symptoms, meaning individuals can remain infected for many years without knowing. For example, up to 70% of women infected with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms. If left untreated, the risk of spreading these infections increases and may also cause complications, including during pregnancy.
How to stay safe during Sexual Health Week and beyond
The best way to protect yourself from STIs is to always use a condom during intercourse and get tested regularly if having sex with new or casual partners, even if you are not showing any symptoms.
You can get free condoms at your local sexual health clinic and, if you’re under 25, you can also get them for free online.
Regular testing for STIs is also essential to maintain good sexual health. It’s recommended that you test for STIs if:
- you or your partner have any unusual symptoms
- you’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner
- you have another STI
- a sexual partner tells you they have an STI
If your results show that an infection has been detected, you must contact your GP or local sexual health clinic as soon as possible for confirmatory testing, further guidance, and treatment options. You should also abstain from sexual contact to avoid passing the infection(s) on to other people, and contact any sexual partners to inform them of the result.
If you are experiencing symptoms that are causing you severe pain or discomfort, or that require a face-to-face examination, we advise you to contact your GP or local sexual health clinic as soon as possible.
It’s easy to order an STI test online including a 7-panel test for just £95 which detects Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma Genitalium, Mycoplasma Hominis, Trichomoniasis, Ureaplasma Parvum (UTI) and Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UTI).
Simply order your test and we will ship your kit out to you in discreet, plain packaging. The kit will contain everything you need to collect your samples and return them to our expert UK laboratory for analysis. Results will be emailed to you in just 2-4 working days.
For confidential advice on which is the right test for you, contact our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email email@example.com.
Please note you must be at least 16 years of age to purchase a home STI test kit from AlphaBiolabs.
Home STI tests
Explore our full range of home STI tests, from just £29.