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Sexually transmitted infections: UK’s sexual health ‘not in good shape’


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Sexually transmitted infections: UK’s sexual health ‘not in good shape’

Image copyright Getty Images Two leading sexual health charities are calling on the government to invest more in sexual health clinics and sex education in the UK.Nearly half of all new sexually transmitted infections are in people under 25.And there’s a new STI diagnosis in England every 70 seconds.The Terrence Higgins Trusts and British Association…

Sexually transmitted infections: UK’s sexual health ‘not in good shape’

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Getty Images

Two leading sexual health charities are calling on the government to invest more in sexual health clinics and sex education in the UK.

Nearly half of all new sexually transmitted infections are in people under 25.

And there’s a new STI diagnosis in England every 70 seconds.

The Terrence Higgins Trusts and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV have teamed up to say more needs to be done.

Their new report claims the government has cut sexual health spending in England by 25% since 2014.

Gonorrhoea cases up by 249%

The report looked into nearly half a million STI diagnoses in 2018 and found cases of gonorrhoea were up by 249% and syphilis up by 165% in the last ten years.

Research also found that the people most affected by STIs were gay men, who accounted for 75% of all syphilis and nearly 50% of gonorrhoea diagnoses in England.

Some of the highest overall rates of STIs were reported in Black Caribbean and Black non-Caribbean/non-African populations.

The report did find some positive action had been taken – HIV prevention tools (like the drug PReP) mean there had been a 6% reduction in diagnoses from 2017-2018.

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Media captionA young person is diagnosed with an STI every four minutes in England.

The HPV vaccine programme was also credited for reducing cases of genital warts by 3% since 2017.

Recommendations in the report include providing local government with more funding to improve sexual health services and doing more to encourage people to get help even when they might feel there is stigma or discrimination linked with having an STI.

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Getty Images

Image caption

There were nearly half a million sexually transmitted infection diagnoses in England in 2018

Jonathan McShane, chair of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “This report shows that the nation’s sexual health is not in good shape and this must be a wake up call to the Government to take action.

“It’s clear to see that sexual health has been neglected for too long and has not been a priority for successive governments.”

In response to the report, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

“More people than ever are now able to access sexual health services and we strongly urge people to take advantage of this free, local service if they consider themselves to be at risk.

“Our new sexual and reproductive health strategy will be published this year.”

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