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SEX

Swedes fear ‘worrying’ rise of super-gonorrhea

Swedish doctors fear that ‘super-gonorrhea’, untreatable by conventional antibiotics, is on the rise after seeing the number of cases of the sexually transmitted disease more than double in six years.

Swedes fear ‘worrying’ rise of super-gonorrhea
The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria is becoming increasingly resistant. Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/Flickr
“The situation in Sweden is worrying,” Hans Fredlund, a doctor in charge of Communical Diseases and Prevention in the city of Örebro, told The Local. “We need new antibiotics effective against gonorrhea within a few years or the situation may become worse.” 
 
Gonorrhea, a bacterial infection, leads to a burning sensation and a thick green or yellow discharge from the urethra or vagina. Untreated, it can lead to inflammation of the joints and heart valves. In a small number of cases, it can even be fatal. 
 
Dr Fredlund said that Sweden had already recorded several cases of a new strain of ‘super-gonorrhea’, with bacteria resistant to azithromycin, one of the three most common antibiotics usually used to treat the sexually transmitted infection.
 
“The international antibiotic resistance situation is well known in Sweden and we have seen some azithromycin resistant strains, but also different other resistant strains,” he said. 
 
“Doctors should…always take a bacterial culture to see which antibiotic will be best for treatment. For this reason it is important that all these patients should be treated and controlled by experienced venereologists, as we do.” 
 
Fredlund's comments come after Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, wrote to all doctors this month, calling on them to make sure they were prescribing the right antibiotics, following the discovery of 'super-gonorrhoea' in Leeds in northern England March. 
 
“Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance,” she said.
 
Spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex, Gonorrhoea, was until recently most prevalent in Sweden among men who have sex with men, or Swedes who contracted the disease abroad, particularly in South East Asia. 
 
But over the last decade the number of cases has more than doubled from 691 in 1995 to 1,545 in 2015, according to the latest figures from the Swedish Public Health Agency.  
 
“What has happened in Sweden in recent years is that gonorrhea has become a disease diagnosed among young heterosexual persons who contracted the disease in Sweden,” Dr Fredlund said. 
 
He warned that this could lead to a spike in its prevalence as a much larger group of people was now exposed to the bacteria. 
 
The expert said that for public health officials the challenge was that warnings about safe sex needed to be imparted anew to each generation. 
 
“Sex is a great instinct and each year there are new people starting their sex life,” he said. “Information campaigns should go on each year and safe sex messages should be given to all teenagers at school.”
 
“The most important thing is to not have casual unprotected sex,” he said. “If you have casual sex, use a condom!” 
 
 
 

SEX

Swedes ‘like it hot’: Erotic audiobooks all the rage

The number of Swedes listening to audiobooks has nearly doubled in just two years and a big part of the explosive growth is driven by an insatiable desire for erotic tales and romance novels.

Swedes 'like it hot': Erotic audiobooks all the rage
Photo: AllaSerebrina/Depositphotos
Broadcaster SVT reported on Wednesday that 37 percent of the Swedish population listened to an audiobook last year, a marked increase over the 20 percent who did the same in 2016. 
 
While audiobook streaming services report that all categories of audiobooks have seen increased listenership, certain types of books are clearly leading the way. 
 
“Amongst the listening public, genres such as romance, ‘feel good’ novels and eroticism are growing. We are thus seeing increased demand [from listeners] as well as an increase in the number of publishers who are putting out these types of books,” Anna Riklund, the head of content curation at audiobook streaming service Bookbeat, told SVT. 
 
She said that the growing number of Swedes who want to listen to racy novels has led several publishers to launch imprints that focus exclusively on erotic literature. 
 
Audiobook streaming service Storytel also reported increased interest in erotic and romance novels, particularly among female listeners. Listener numbers peak around Valentine’s Day and during the hot summer months. 
 
Author Susanne Ahlenius, whose erotic novels include titles such as ‘Climax’ and ‘Lust 2.0’, said that the audiobook format is perfect for fans of the genre. 
 
“You don’t have to sit with a paperback that shows what you are reading. No one knows what you’re listening to,” she told SVT. 
 
Ahlenius said that her books are most successful when she “writes very explicitly and there is a lot of sex”. 
 
“People like it hot,” she said. 
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