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Sexual Health week - STI's on the rise!

This week is national sexual health week, so we here at Men’s Sexual Health would like to draw your attention to the recent statistics published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). New sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses have increased by two per cent in England in 2011, thats 427,000 new cases, and Young heterosexual adults (15-24 years) and men who have sex with men (MSM) still remain the groups at highest risk. The three biggest rises were, Genital herpes up 5%, Syphilis up 10% and Gonorrhoea up by a staggering 25%

New diagnosis of Gonorrhoea account for 21,000 of the total new cases, and of those, one third were repeat cases and one third was diagnosed alongside another STI.

The largest upsurge in new diagnoses between 2010 and 2011 was seen in Men who have sex with Men (MSM): Gonorrhoea increased by 61 per cent; Chlamydia by 48 per cent; and Syphilis by 28 per cent

Amongst heterosexuals overall rates remained highest in young adults (15-24 years old), accounting for 57 per cent of all new gonorrhoea diagnoses; 56 per cent of all new genital warts diagnoses; and 43 per cent of all new genital herpes diagnoses.

Dr. Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at the HPA, said: “The 2011 data are a matter of concern regarding young heterosexuals and men who have sex with men. We anticipated some increase in diagnoses due to improvements in testing in recent years, but not on the scale seen here. These data show that too many people are putting themselves at risk of STIs and serious health problems by having unsafe sex. The rises in 2011 demonstrate it is crucial the work to reduce STIs continues. Improving awareness and encouraging safer sexual behaviour through health promotion and education is essential to helping prevent STIs. Coupled with this, ensuring easy access to sexual health services and STI screening is important for controlling the transmission of all STIs and needs to be focused on groups at highest risk.”

To avoid putting yourself at risk of STIs and serious health problems, HPA and Men’s Sexual Health encourage the use of a condom when having sex with casual and new partners.

We also recommend regular tests for those in the highest risk groups. Sexually active under 25 year olds should be screened for Chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner.

The other high risk group, MSM, who are having unprotected sex with casual or new partners to have an HIV/STI screen at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly.

Getting screened for HIV/STIs can lead to early identification and treatment, as often these infections have no symptoms. In addition, reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships can reduce the risk of being infected with an STI.

Chlamydia, one of the most common STIs in young adults, often has no symptoms and can result in infertility. Although the 2011 data shows a four per cent drop in cases of Chlamydia in young adults, from approximately 154,000 to 148,000, this is due to falling numbers of younger adults being screened, and consequently fewer cases being ascertained.

Dr. Angie Bone, director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, said: “This is a trend we need to reverse. Our aim is to encourage all sexually active under 25 year olds to get screened every year, or on change of partner, so a hidden infection can be found and treated. Testing is simple, painless and available on the NHS for this group, from GPs, pharmacies, family planning clinics and sexual health clinics.”

If you live in Swindon, please remember you can order FREE condoms and lube from our website, just look for the tab above or to the side of this article.

Also if you would like support, advice with booking an appointment to get tested the please give us a call, we also offer a buddy service where we can attend with you as for some people getting screened/tested for the first time can be an overwhelming experience.