This is how many women in Edinburgh have never had an STI test

Edinburgh women are neglecting their sexual health, with only 10 per cent getting one or more check ups a year (Photo: Shutterstock)
Edinburgh women are neglecting their sexual health, with only 10 per cent getting one or more check ups a year (Photo: Shutterstock)

According to new research, Edinburgh women are severely neglecting their sexual health

New research conducted by UK based online doctor Zava has revealed shocking statistics regarding the sexual health of Edinburgh women.

Despite being advised to have at least one sexual health check up per year, the numbers show that an extremely low amount of women in Edinburgh actually follow through.

Taken from a study of more than 2,000 women across the UK, the results regarding Edinburgh women were particularly revealing.

What do the statistics say?

According to the data, only 10 per cent of women in Edinburgh get one or more check up per year.

Other numbers by the study revealed that 49 per cent of local, sexually active women had never had a single sexually transmitted infection (STI) test.

When asked about the symptoms of STIs, the numbers showed that 61 per cent of female residents in Scotland’s capital felt confident that they would be able to tell the difference between a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia and thrush, a common yeast infection.

However, when actually quizzed on the matter, one in five women were unable to identify the three main symptoms of thrush.

These numbers could be due to the fact that 57 per cent of women reported as having “little to no sexual education at school”, according to the study.

To help women have a better understanding of what’s going on down below, Zava have created a helpful graphic which aims to educate women on differences in discharge and what those changes might mean - check out the graphic here.

When should I get a check up?

According to Sexual Health Scotland, this is when and how often you should be getting tested:

If you’re sexually active and you’ve never been tested, you should think about getting one carried out. Just because you don’t have any symptoms doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Many people have STIs and pass them on without realising, simply because they have no symptoms.

If something didn’t quite go to plan, like a condom breaking, it’s best to get yourself tested.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like pain while urinating, discharge, itching or bleeding, you should book yourself in to get checked out. It’s best to get tested after every new partner you have sex with, just to be safe.

If you’re thinking about ditching condoms for another form of birth control, such as the pill or the implant, be sure to get tested, as condoms are the only form of contraception that protects against STIs.

Why do I need to get tested?

It is important to get tested in order to protect yourself and your partners against sexually transmitted infections. If left untreated, many STIs can result in health problems further down the line.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause similar similar problems if left untreated. For women, they can spread to the reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In turn, PID can lead to long term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

In men, these STIs can cause a painful infection of the testicles and prostate gland, which can lead to fertility issues.

In extreme cases, gonorrhea can work its way through the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body, known as sepsis.

Both STIs can easily be treated.

How do I get tested?

You can either make an appointment at an STI clinic, or alternatively visit a drop in clinic which doesn’t require you to make an appointment in advance.

They will ask you questions about your sexual activity and any symptoms you might have.

Depending on your reason for visiting, you can get tested in a variety of ways, such as giving a blood or urine sample, having a swab taken or simply being examined. From there you’ll be guided through your results and treatment.

Visit the Sexual Health Scotland clinic finder to find a sexual health centre close to you.