A sexually transmitted infection dubbed the “flash-eating STI” is on the rise in the UK, according to an expert.

Donovanosis is a rare STI not seen often in the UK, it is more commonly found in India, New Guinea, the Caribbean, central Australia and southern Africa.

The infection gained it’s “flesh-eating” nickname when it was first discovered in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, the infection will not actually rot the flesh but it will cause painful ulcers around the genitals which can lead to permanent scarring.

‘Flesh-eating STI’ on the rise in the UK

Cases remain extremely rare in the UK however data from Public Health England has shown a rise from 19 cases in 216 to 30 cases in 2019.

Dr Shree Datta from London’s MyHealthCare Clinic spoke with The Sun to share a warning with Brits.

She said: "These figures suggest that donovanosis - which was previously thought to be restricted to places including India, Brazil and New Guinea - is becoming more common on these shores.

"As well as the awful symptoms, it's important people are aware that it's a known risk factor for the transmission of HIV.

"The early signs are lumps around the genitals or anus that increase in size and take on a beefy-red appearance.”

She added: "These can develop into ulcers that, without treatment, can become infected, which can result in pain and an unpleasant smell. It's more likely to affect men."

Symptoms of donovanosis

Early treatment with antibiotics is essential when it comes to treating donovanosis and can take several months to clear.

Dr Datta said using contraception significantly lowers the risk of contracting the disease.

  • Symptoms of the virus include:
  • Widespread ulcers around the genital area and anus
  • Bulging red lumps that grow in size
  • Painful red bumps that bleed and grow back
  • Damaged skin
  • Loss of genital tissue colour.

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