H & F Among top Ten Hotspots for Sexually Transmitted Infections
Number of people affected reaches almost half a million
Figures released by the Health Protection Agency show that 15 to 24 year olds, particularly young women, continue to be the group most affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK.
And one in ten of those 15-24 year olds will become re-infected within a year.
In 2009 a total of 482,696 new STI diagnoses were reported to the agency from sexual health clinics and community based chlamydia testing.
This is around 12,000 cases more than were reported in 2008, when there were 470,701 new diagnoses. It also continues the steady upward trend we have seen over the past decade.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of the HPA's STI section said:
"These figures also highlight the vulnerability of young women. Many studies have shown that young adults are more likely to have unsafe sex and often they lack the skills and confidence to negotiate safer sex.
"Re-infection is also a worrying issue - the numbers we're seeing in teenagers are of particular concern as this suggests teenagers are repeatedly putting their own, as well as others, long term health at risk from STIs."
The figures show that show Hammersmith and Fulham Primary Care Trust recorded 1,864 cases of infection for every 100,000 people – putting it behind only Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark.
The most common STI was chlamydia, which was responsible for three quarters of new infections in the borough. Again it was young people who were most affected, with one in 36 young people aged 15 to 24 testing positive, compared to less than one in 300 over-25s.
Dr Ike Anya, public health consultant for NHS Hammersmith and Fulham, said: " Hammersmith and Fulham has a high number of young people living in the borough compared to other parts of London and also has high levels of deprivation, both of which are associated with high levels of STIs.
"But the worrying issue behind the figures is that young people are not taking safe sex seriously. The solution has to be to continue working with our partners at the council and in education, young people and parents to improve awareness and understanding."
August 26, 2010