Sep 20, 2010
London is sex infection capital
London has been highlighted as the capital of sexually transmitted infections, as new data shows STIs are on the rise across the country.
There were almost half a million cases of STIs – such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia in 2009, an increase of 12,000 from the previous year.
The data from the Health Protection Agency shows under 25s, and gay men are particularly affected, as well as people living in the capital.
In previous years men have accounted for around 50,000 more infections than women, but this latest set of figures show that the gap has narrowed dramatically to around 10,000.
9 of the UK’s top ten ‘STI hotspots’ are in London. Hackney tops the list, followed by Lambeth, Southwark, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Haringey, Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster. Brighton and Hove takes the tenth place.
Experts from the HPA say that more people testing for sexually transmitted infections accounted for some of the rise as well as improved tests that are more sensitive to detecting infections. But there was also a warning that unsafe sex was to blame.
“These studies highlight the vulnerability of young women. Many studies have shown that young adults are more likely to have unsafe sex. Often they lack the skills and confidence to negotiate safer sex,” said the HPA’s Dr Gwenda Hughes.
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes
While sexually transmitted infections overall increased by 3% on the previous year, there were greater increases in the case of some specific infections.
Chlamydia increased by 7%, gonorrhoea by 6% and genital herpes (genital warts) by 5%.
Re-infection is a problem with one in 10 under 25s diagnosed becoming re-infected within a year.
Experts have also expressed concern that some strains of gonorrhoea are becoming resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. “We could see gonorrhoea becoming a very difficult infection to treat within the next five years,’ said the HPA’s Professor Cathy Ison.
For now the best advice remains to use a condom and to regularly test for sexually transmitted infections. Left untreated many can lead to serious complications and infertility.
Freedom Health offers a wide range of tests for sexually transmitted infections to suit your circumstances. See the overview of our services on our website http://www.freedomhealth.co.uk/sexual-health/std-sti-test-and-testing-clinic-london/175/