Casual sex blamed for 6% STI rise

July 17, 2008 by admin 

couple naked

Health experts issued a stark warning to young people today as figures showed a rise in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being diagnosed across the UK.

Young people aged 16 to 24 accounted for around half of all newly diagnosed STIs in 2007, despite accounting for just one-eighth of the population.

Figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed a 6% rise in STIs across all age groups between 2006 and 2007.

There were 397,990 newly diagnosed STIs in UK Gum clinics in 2007 across all age groups – up on the 375,843 reported in 2006.

New cases of Genital Herpes rose 20% while there was a 7% rise in Genital Warts and chlamydia. New cases of gonorrhoea fell 1%, while there was also a small decline in syphilis of 0.2%.

Young women aged 16 to 19 accounted for the highest number of cases of chlamydia and Genital Warts in 2007.

Among men, the infections were most prevalent among those aged 20 to 24.

Professor Peter Borriello, director of the HPAs centre for infections, said: "It’s increasingly the case that among young people a casual shag is part of the territory, it’s part of life.

"Increasingly a shag now stands for syphilis, herpes, anal warts and gonorrhoea.

"If you are going to go swimming, dive into the pool, make sure you know how to swim, be safe. "That really means wear a condom."

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of the HIV and STI department at the HPA’s centre for infections, said increased diagnosis and better diagnostic testing accounted for some of the rise in STI infections being recorded.

Prof Borriello said many young people should be applauded for the way they acted responsibly. "A chance encounter, a few too many drinks, peer pressure and somebody at 16 may be in a first encounter saying ‘Excuse me, have you got a condom?’

"It’s not an easy thing to get across."

However, he added, there still needed to be a strong message delivered to those who engaged in casual encounters without taking proper precautions.

Dr Hughes said the 16-24 age group were more likely to have casual partners and overlapping partners than other groups.

The HPA is calling for all sexually active young people to be screened for chlamydia annually and every time they change their sexual partner. Chlamydia, which often has no symptoms, remains the most common STI in the UK.

Source: Metro UK


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