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Increase in sexual infections

20th July 2007

Latest figures show that the number of sexually transmitted infections in the UK is continuing to rise.

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The Health Protection Agency (HPA) found that diagnoses of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) rose by 2% to 376,508 from 2005 to 2006 with the biggest increases among young people and gay men.

Statistics show the area with the biggest rise was in cases of genital herpes, up 9%, and were seen most dramatically in girls aged 16-19 where there was a 16% increase. However, cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis dropped by 1%.

In recent years there has been a near constant rise in sexual infections and the 16-24 age group has been the most at risk, though at the same time more people have come forward for testing with almost one million people screened at genitourinary medicine clinics in 2006.

HPA chief executive Professor Pat Troop said: ‚ÄúThere is mixed news in these figures. Some infections now appear to be slowing down. But there is no room for complacency. The picture for young people remains particularly worrying.‚Ä?

The HPA says that higher STI rates were found in young people because they were more sexually active and multiple partners, changing partners and failing to wear condoms all contributed to trend.

The Department of Health say that improving sexual health remained a priority for the NHS and the aim is for all patients being offered an appointment at a genitourinary medicine clinic by with 48 hours by March 2008. Latest figures show that 85% of patients currently hit the 48-hour target.

 

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