1 million people 'infected with STDs every day', says WHO
Over one million people are becoming infected with some form of sexually transmitted disease (STD) every day according to new figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Research has found that around 357 million people are diagnosed with one of the four most common STDs - syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis - every year. These figures could be drastically reduced if people got tested regularly for STDs and used condoms, especially when engaging in casual sex.
Rapid diagnosis of STDs is important in helping to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections, but laboratories can only test the samples so they are given. This means that failing to keep up with STI checks can be dangerous.
Not getting tested for STDs can mean they spread further, especially if you have numerous partners and fail to use protection, and may even lead to infertility and death if left undetected for an extended period of time.
Here are out top tips for staying STD-free:
Always use protection
You should always ensure that you use condoms during intercourse to protect against pregnancy and STIs, even if you or your partner are on another form of birth control. This means you should not engage in any form of penetrative sex without a condom, as STDs can still be passed on during a few minutes of penetration.
Seek help if you have symptoms
If you notice any changes, such as itching, pain or differences in discharge, you should seek medical attention and avoid all sexual contact. Once tested, if your results are positive, you should ensure you complete your course of treatment and inform your recent sexual partners so they can get tested.
Get tested every six months
If you don't have a regular partner or are engaging in casual sex, you should make it a habit to get tested every six months or so, even if you aren't experiencing symptoms. This will help stop the spread of STIs and inform you whether you have an infection that hasn't yet caused any symptoms.