VD DAY; WE'RE No1 FOR VALENTINE STORIES Night of passion could end in STI clinic as couples have unsafe sex.
VALENTINE'S Day could end up being VD Day for thousands of Irish couples - because they forget to use a condom.
The Health Service Executive yesterday issued a stark warning to amorous couples planning a night of passion.
Otherwise their hot date could end up in the not-so romantic ambience of the sexual disease clinic.
A survey released by the HSE yesterday revealed that eight in 10 people are not aware of the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
The research by the Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships found that 69 per cent of those who did not use a condom "trusted" that their lover did not have an infection.
Shockingly, 14 per cent of these had just met their sexual partners.
And 27 per cent said they trusted casual lovers not to have an STI.
A further nine per cent believed they were not at risk.
Figures from the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre in 2005 show an alarming growth in certain STIs.
Cases of chlamydia went up 19.6 per cent on the year before to 3,353 - and now account for a third of all reported STIs.
Syphilis cases doubled with 282 recorded in 2005 and gonorrhoea rose by 26.6 per cent to 342.
HSE assistant national director for population health Catherine Murphy said: "There is nothing romantic about an STI.
"Condoms are the most effective defence against conditions such as chlamydia, genital warts or HIV.
"We encourage people to carry condoms, particularly as sex is often unplanned.""
The HSE urged people not to store them where they could be damaged by heat, light or damp.
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