Men’s attitudes to unprotected sex and STI screening are putting their sexual health at risk, a leading pharmacy group has claimed.
According to figures released by Lloydspharmacy, 13% of the men who purchased a chlamydia test from its online service tested positive for the infection compared with 6% of women.
It also exposed a widespread reluctance to be screened for STIs, with only 28% of men undergoing a sexual health test at a local GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic compared with 38% of women.
The figures also suggested a somewhat relaxed attitude towards safe sex with 13% of men admitting engaging in unprotected sex with more than one partner in the past five years. By comparison, only 7% of women had admitted having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Clare Kerr, Lloydspharmacy’s head of sexual health, said the results suggest men may wait until they suspect they have an infection before getting themselves tested.
“This is particularly worrying as many STIs (sexually transmitted infections) don’t have any obvious symptoms, so men could be putting both themselves and their partners at risk by delaying tests.
“Embarrassment is a huge barrier to testing and so we hope that removing the need to see a GP or visit a GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic will encourage men to test themselves regularly.”