‘No more K-town: kissing and forgetting about sex can lead to MS and syphilis’

Teenagers who fail to use protection while on a kiss-and-tell holiday can inadvertently transmit the STI syphilis and the form of MS known as relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, a new study has found. A…

'No more K-town: kissing and forgetting about sex can lead to MS and syphilis'

Teenagers who fail to use protection while on a kiss-and-tell holiday can inadvertently transmit the STI syphilis and the form of MS known as relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, a new study has found.

A Dutch study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that teenagers who had unprotected sex while on a kiss-and-tell holiday had higher risk of multiple sclerosis than those who did not engage in the risky behaviour.

The study, conducted by team at Utrecht University Medical Centre, included 380 teenagers with no diagnosed symptoms of syphilis or MS, aged 14 to 21.

“Our main finding is that young people with any of the STIs were at higher risk of multiple sclerosis than patients with a history of STIs. This is also true when they are tested for syphilis or MS,” the researchers wrote.

They also found that risk of disease in teenagers was higher than risk among their parents, who had MS or syphilis at a similar age.

“These findings are informative and may have public health consequences. Patients at risk of MS might benefit from prevention of MS at an early age,” they wrote.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects the coordination and balance of the body.

The disease is almost always associated with an attack of antibodies that destroys the connections between nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Other characteristics include fatigue, mental fog, and mobility impairments. More than 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis.

A warning could be issued for parents to warn children against risky behaviour. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The problem, according to the study, was that teenagers are vulnerable to STIs given the sexual nature of the activities they indulge in during their honeymoon.

Parents were aware that their children had sex but were not particularly concerned or informed, the researchers wrote.

“Sexual activity before marriage has been on the rise in the Netherlands in recent years,” they wrote. “In terms of risk, however, people aged 18 and over should be particularly cautious.

“This finding for MS is especially true in light of the recent controversy surrounding the health warning against being a kiss-and-tell destination.

“Teens will be greatly affected by this recommendation from the Netherlands Health Insurance Board. In other words, while travelling with their parents, travel-tourists should be aware of their own sexual health status.”

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