We are seeing an increase in shigella with men-who-have-sex-with-men. Seen more so in the Eastern States, Shigella is a bacterial infection that resides in the gut that has been originally seen in contaminated food but can also transmit through sexual practices, particularly rimming and anal sex, to lead to some pretty nasty symptoms including uncontrollable and intense diarrhoea, cramps, fever and vomiting! What’s more, we are seeing some strains of Shigella that are multi-drug resistant and require more antibiotics to treat. If you’ve recently been rimmed especially by anonymous sex partners (whether met at a beat or sex on premises venue or spa) and you are experiencing the start of a diarrhoea episode (and you’re not normally predisposed to diarrhoea) then follow these easy steps:
1. Temporarily stop having sex and talk to your GP or M Clinic about getting tested for Shigella with a stool sample.
This will involve getting a sample of poo in your appointment. While the results are being processed at the labs you should refrain from having sex.
2. Take a few sick days from work and keep up on fluid and electrolyte intake as you can lose a lot of fluids through diarrhoea.
As if you had any gut bug, it is important to keep up electrolyte and fluid intake. Failing to do so can lead to severe health issues from a depletion of potassium and sodium in your system.
Furthermore, without regular handwashing, you can contaminate food and other items with Shigella.
3. If you have come back positive for Shigella, then it is important to start on treatment as soon as possible and only resume having sex at least a week after symptoms have gone away
Starting on treatment sooner means clearing the bacterial infection sooner. It takes a while for the bacterial infection to disappear and even though symptoms have gone it takes at least a week for bacterial load to be effectively cleared from your system.