Revellers heading out for the so-called Mad Friday tomorrow are being reminded to stay sexually safe and not be led astray by the effect of drink.
Excessive celebrations on the last Friday before Christmas could leave people with more than a hangover, said Dr Sophie Brady, clinical lead for Bradford and Airedale Sexual Health Services.
She said: “Having a good time is OK but normal behaviour, fixed-ways of looking after yourself and common sense goes out of the window when too much alcohol's involved and beer-goggles come into play.
“Beer-goggles is a term for someone under the influence of drink believing a person is is far more sexually attractive than they really are,” said Dr Brady. The best way to steer clear of picking up a sexually transmitted infection or getting pregnant on a night out is to avoid having sex at all but if you do, make sure you use a condom.”
Sexual health clinics, including the service’s hub at the Trinity Centre, in Trinity Road , will be staying open over Christmas and the New Year.
Although some testing for STIs such as chlamydia, need to be two weeks after contact there are some incidents when help needs to be sought straight away and can save lives. Men who have had unsafe sex with men can be tested and treated the next day – other people under special circumstances such as people who have had unprotected sex with an HIV-infected person or possibly someone from a foreign country where the infection is rife can also get quick access to that treatment.
Emergency contraception is also offered from the clinics, said Dr Brady.
Last year Bradford ranked 230 out of 326 in a list of local authorities with highest STI diagosis and 60 per cent of those were aged 15 to 24.
But older age is not a barrier to getting an STI infection, Dr Brady said: “We are diagnosing people in clinic in their 60s with HIV or other infections.
“Internet dating isn’t helping – now people are meeting others who they know nothing much about and no other links likework or living nearby, more relationships are breaking down and people are starting over again.
“It’s a good thing to have sex but it must be safe.”
Anyone needing to make an appointment should ring (01274) 200024 to get help.