Yourwellness – The Gateway to living well
It seems as though iPhone applications such as Grindr have fuelled a new syphilis epidemic in the Christchurch community. Sexual health experts are warning that measures need to be taken now before the disease spreads to the heterosexual community, where it’s a threat to unborn children. This sexually transmitted disease has been on the rise in New Zealand since 2003, with the number of cases reaching an all-time high last year.
Before the onset of iPhone apps such as Grindr for which the sole use is for promoting casual sex, the types of men who caught syphilis were those in their mid-40s who caught the disease in sexually promiscuous locations such as brothels. Now, however, the gay community is being less aware of the risks and having more casual sex with strangers who aren’t using protection against diseases such as syphilis. If the disease spreads back to the heterosexual community, it could threaten the health of mothers and their children – congenital syphilis can lead to miscarriages, still births and deformities in the baby.
If you are sexually active, as well as engaging in casual sex, you should be checked regularly at your local sexual health clinic for any infections or diseases. A regular check-up is quick and free, but will give you the peace of mind that you’re healthy and haven’t caught any infections which can damage your health or fertility in the future. It’s important to remember that not all diseases carry symptoms, so a check-up is the only way to be entirely sure. In addition to this, you should always practice safe sex – condoms and other contraceptives are available through your GP or a GUM clinic, so speak to a medical professional who can advise you which contraceptive is the best choice for you and your lifestyle.