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Warning over rise in shigella cases among gay men

Written by gaytourism

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STI warning to gay men

The LGBT Foundation said there has been a recent rise in cases of shigella among men who have sex with men.

Shigellosis, or shigella, is an intestinal infection caused when bacteria found in poo gets into your mouth.

Spelling it out: Shigella is transferred through faeces. Photo: Mark Johnson

Last month, health officials in San Diego issued an advisory over the sexual transmitted infection. It said that gay and bisexual men, homeless individuals, and people with compromised immune systems could be at an increased risk for the intestinal disease.

In 2017, San Diego recorded the highest number of cases in 20 years, including a disproportional increase in the gay and bisexual community and among the homeless population.

How do you get it?

Shigella can be caught from rimming, oral sex, or putting your fingers in your mouth after handling used condoms, douches or sex toys, the LGBT Foundation says.

Signs of infection include having an upset stomach, fever, stomach ache, and diarrhoea which might have blood in it.

These symptoms can last for around a week. Shigella is closely related to the E.coli bacteria.

Disease and infections magazine reported that the number of cases typically increases in the late summer and fall.

How to lower risk of shigella infection

The LGBT Foundation says you can lower your risk of infection by washing your hands, bum and genitals after sex.

You could also use dental dams, condoms, and fisting gloves to protect you when having oral sex, fisting, and fingering.

It is also recommended that you change condoms between partners, and between anal and oral sex, whether they’re on a penis, hands, or sex toys.

Hygiene as prevention: Wash often and don’t re-use condoms. Photo: Mark Johnson

Shigella treatment

Shigella is treated with a course of antibiotics, the Foundation says. However, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last month of an increasing number of antibiotic-resistant shigella infections.

If you think you have shigella, go to a sexual health (GUM) clinic or your GP and explain your symptoms. You may also want to say that you think you may have picked up an infection from sex.

See also:

Warning to not ‘wash and re-use condoms’ issued

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