STD symptoms may go unchecked due to reduced testing and diagnosis, the Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland warns –


Dr. Gillian Armstrong

Health officials fear that people with undiagnosed STIs during the pandemic may spread them when society reopens.

The public health agency is urging people to undergo a series of STD tests, amid concerns that such infections may go undetected because clinics are closed during the lockdown.

In particular, they warn there is alarm across the UK for the growing number of “highly drug-resistant” infections called shigella.

The Department of Public Health says that reducing STI testing and diagnosis by 2020 “could mean an increase in the number of people with unspecified STIs in Northern Ireland, which means they may be at risk of complications and transmission to others”.

And when “community opens and restores opportunities for people to meet and socialize, PHA urges people to take advantage of sexual health testing if they are sexually active or plan to join soon.”

“At the height of the pandemic, many reproductive medicine (GUM) clinics were initially closed to visitors and access to sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening was limited,” said Dr. Gillian Armstrong, PHA’s interim medical director. “This could mean reduced STI testing. Sexuality and diagnosis by 2020 An increase in the number of people with unidentified sexually transmitted diseases in Northern Ireland, which means they may be at risk of developing complications and further transmission of infection to others.

“It is important to take steps to reduce the risk of harm to self and others. As society reopens, we urge sexual activists to take the necessary steps and get tested to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“Although the numbers show a decrease in the number of diagnoses during the pandemic, we have observed that the number of diagnosed cases of infectious syphilis in Northern Ireland has been increasing every year since 2018. Once considered a disease of the past, it may mean that people have forgotten the need for awareness and vigilance. about this infection.

Although half of those infected with syphilis have no symptoms, some can develop peptic ulcers. These sores can be painless, and they can go away on their own, but symptoms such as a rash can appear later. Left untreated, syphilis can lead to serious health problems, including damage to the heart, brain, and nervous system.

In addition, the UK Health Insurance Agency (UKHSA) has in recent weeks issued a warning amid an increase in cases of highly resistant shigella infection in the UK. Again, like syphilis, some people with shigellosis, which is caused by bacteria, will not have any symptoms.

However, most people who suffer from it have diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, so they often mistakenly eat poisoned food. Symptoms usually begin a day or two after infection and last for seven days.

Dr. Armstrong warned that people who have unprotected sex put themselves and others at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

He added that people should be tested quickly if they think they are at risk, adding that they can order a home self-examination kit for sexually transmitted diseases that is free, confidential and confidential. The test, which the PHA says arrives at your address in an ordinary mailbox-sized envelope, can be ordered online at People can also go to a periodontal clinic for testing.

The PHA states that details of sexual health care, STD symptoms and gum clinics in Northern Ireland can be found at and

Source: Belfastlive


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