Monday 26th September is World Contraception Day, perhaps one of the more important ‘Awareness Days’ of the year. First launched in 2007, the aim is to inform young people to help them make more sensible and smart choices regarding their sexual lifestyle.
According to Public Health England, people aged 15 to 24 make up around 36% of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital warts, herpes and syphilis diagnoses in 2015. However it’s not only young people who need to be informed. Shockingly, a survey that the Family Planning Association ran found that 68% of the general public had never had a STI test.
To help test your knowledge this Contraception Day, charity Plan UK have put together a new quiz with various questions about different types of contraception and sexual health myths from around the world. Although a lot of the myths featured in quiz seem quite harmless, they do have a serious impact on sexual health and well-being around the world.
Welcome to the latest in our series of informational blog posts looking at some different auto-immune conditions. For a fuller explanation of what it means to have an auto-immune condition please go to our previous blog on the subject – http://patienttalk.org/?p=939
Behçet’s disease (also called Behçet’s syndrome) is a rare medical condition which leads to inflammation of the blood vessels. This in turn can cause some of the following symptoms:-
1) Mouth ulcers. In fact almost all people with Behçet’s disease will get mouth ulcers.
2) Genital ulcers. Again around 85% of people with the syndrome will develop very painful genital ulcers.
3) Skin lesions such as acne appear in most cases of the condition. The skin in general can also become more sensitive.
4) Inflammation of the joints can occur leading to arthritis like symptoms.
5) Inflammation of the eye. While only a minority of people with Behçet’s disease develop this symptom it can lead to permanent loss of vision.
6) Inflammation of the veins and central nervous system. This is rare however.
Currently the causes of Behçet’s disease are unknown. However some theories suggest a combination of genetics combined with environmental factors such as infections like Herpes or Hepatitis.
One of the interesting features of the condition is its incidence across the globe. In the UK for example there are only a few hundred people with the condition. But in Turkey it runs into the tens of thousands. In fact it is most common in countries which were once part of the Silk Road. This includes much of the Middle East, Central Asia and China. Though Japan has high rates as well. This, of course, does point to a genetic origin.
Because Behçet’s disease is widely considered to be an auto-immune condition typical treatments involve immunosuppressants.
One of the features of these kinds of blogs is that we really like feedback from our readers. It would be great if people with Behçet’s disease could use the comments box below to tell their stories. You might like to consider the following questions though any aspect of your story will be of interest to our readers.
a) What were your original symptoms of Behçet’s disease? How did the condition develop?
b) Which healthcare professionals have you seen as part of your diagnosis and treatment?
c) What treatments for Behçet’s disease have you used and how successful were they?
d) What do you think the causes of your Behçet’s disease might be?