A London sexual health chief has warned Britain will be faced with a gonorrhoea pandemic once the lockdown ends.
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) President Dr John McSorley called for Londoners to use the lockdown productively to go and get themselves tested to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
He also raised concerns that London will see the return of high rates of STI as people’s behaviour returns to normal at the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
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British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) President Dr John McSorley told MyLondon: “There are a lot of similarities between Covid and STIs. The notions of social distancing and isolating have been in sexual health for a long time.
“We are on our way back to where we were a year ago. As we open society up again we can expect more gonorrhoea and syphilis.”
Prior to the lockdown Britain was facing its worst rates of STIs since the Second World War.
And although the first lockdown last year saw a huge drop in the number of people using sexual health clinics, rates are beginning to climb again in London.
There was a 85 per cent reduction in people going to sexual health clinics across the country when the first lockdown broke out since people were afraid to go outside.
However, since the initial lockdown the number of people using clinics has begun to dramatically rise again.
Dr McSorley added: “People are rebounding back to living a normal life as they can and that includes a safe and entertaining sex life.
“About 80 to 90 per cent of people have seen their sexual activity reduced in the last year.”
The clinics where Dr McSorley works in West London have also seen a dramatic rise in people using services.
The clinics in Harrow, Ealing and Brentford have seen a five per cent increase week on week.
Dr McSorley added: “They have seen a slow and controlled increase in clinics.
“The bigger problem is long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). It is the area that requires the greatest action.”
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LARC, which includes items such as the coil and implants, is an alternative to birth control such as the contraceptive pill and condoms.
Due to the pandemic sexual health clinics have not been able to offer routine coils or implant fittings causing a huge backlog in London.
The backlog has led to concerns women will not be able to get essential contraceptive treatments.
Londoners can access sexual health services and advice here.
-- to www.mylondon.news