Christmas could be a time of celebration. But for some health experts it's a season people could be running the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
WALES' top doctor, for instance, has called on the people of the province to improve their sexual health practices over Christmas in a bid to stem the "rising tide" of STIs.
The advice from Tony Jewell, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, comes amid fears that Christmas is also a season of unprotected sex.
Dr Jewell said many people who carry sexually transmitted infections were unaware of the fact - putting their health and other people's well-being at risk.
More than 3,500 people visited a sexual health clinic in Wales with chlamydia in 2006, and there has been a 46% increase in cases of gonorrhoea between 2000 and 2004.
About 860 people are being treated for HIV/Aids in Wales.
Dr Jewell said, "There is a rising tide of sexually transmitted infections in Wales, despite attempts to reduce the rates.
"The rates are also likely to underestimate the actual prevalence.
"Many people who have chlamydia, for example, may not be aware that they are carrying - and potentially transmitting - the infection, which has many adverse impacts such as pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to infertility.
"People should be especially careful during the Christmas season. Improving sexual health and increasingthe use of contraceptives such as condoms will help reduce this increasing problem.
"Remembering to take precautions means reducing the risk of getting a most unwanted Christmas present."
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