Oral-anal ‘rim’ gay sex sparks gut infection outbreak

Health experts are warning gay and bisexual men in the UK are at risk of Shigella, a bacterial infection that can make you feel like you're 'dying'

Oral-anal ‘rim’ gay sex sparks gut infection outbreak
31 January 2014

Oral-anal sex, known as ‘rimming’, has sparked a gut infection outbreak in the UK.

Health experts are warning gay and bisexual men are at high risk of contracting Shigella, a bacterial infection that can lead to ongoing frequent diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fevers.

Normally, Shigella is only contracted when travelling to foreign countries. But in gay and bisexual men, it is being spread through oral contact with feces or via unwashed hands.

In 2009, there were only 43 cases among men in the UK that did not have a link to travel. Just four years later, reports have surged to 224 cases with more cases expected.

‘Shigella is on the rise, so it is vital gay and bisexual men know about it and how to avoid getting it,’ Dr Gwenda Hughes said, head of STI surveillance at Public Health England.

Posters and leaflets informing men about the infection are being distributed to nightclubs, saunas and bars and other gay venues, as well as sexual health clinics.

Gay and bisexual men are being urged to avoid oral-faecal contact and to wash their hands thoroughly and shower after sex.

One gay man, who acquired the infection after rimming, said getting Shigella was the ‘lowest point’ in his life.

‘I suffered uncontrollable bloody diarrhoea with severe stomach cramps. The severity of the symptoms and dehydration headaches made me think I was going to die,’ he said.

If you suffer from symptoms that you feel might be Shigella, go to a GP or clinic, mention Shigella, and request a stool sample test.

The infection is treatable with antibiotics.

Cary James, head of health improvement at Terrence Higgins Trust, suggested not all cases of the infection were being reported.

‘Men with symptoms who haven’t heard of Shigella before might assume it’s a particularly bad case of food poisoning,’ he said. ‘However, the infection can be dangerous, even more so if you’re already living with HIV or hep C.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Matt Dallas marries musician Blue Hamilton
No thumbnail available

Majority of Americans oppose businesses being allowed to discriminate for religious reasons

A new poll of voting aged people in the United States finds that most Americans do not believe that business owners should be allowed to use their religious beliefs as a legal excuse to refuse to serve or hire LGBTI people or other groups
No thumbnail available

Armenian officials discard anti-gay bill

Authorities in the former Soviet state cite defects as their reason for withdrawing a proposed ban of gay and lesbian sexual relationships
No thumbnail available
Senate to vote on ENDA before Thanksgiving

Senate to vote on ENDA before Thanksgiving

Long-stalled legislation seeks federal protection from discrimination for LGBTI employees
No thumbnail available

Guesting on American Horror Story: Freak Show made Neil Patrick Harris never want to act again

'Acting is hard - you have to become another person and through that you become insecure as that person'
No thumbnail available

President Obama sending lesbian sports icon Billie Jean King to Olympics in Sochi

Outspoken 20-time Wimbledon champ is part of official US delegation
No thumbnail available

These homophobes are unknowingly advertising a hardcore gay porn site

Reddit user buys expired domain and redirects it to gay skinhead porn
No thumbnail available

US anti-gay group advises members to refuse mail with Harvey Milk stamp

'Harvey Milk was a very disreputable man and used his charm and power to prey on young boys with emotional problems and drug addiction'
No thumbnail available

Russia rules gay propaganda law should not 'curb human rights'

Gay rights activists say, even though the law has been upheld by the Constitutional Court, it could be the sign of change