Sexually transmitted diseases on the rise

The number of young people with sexually transmitted infections has shot up in Chorley, despite a drop in the North West.

Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Herpes cases are all on the rise in the town, according to new figures.

The number of acute cases in 15-24 year olds with Chlamydia in Chorley rose 266 in 2009 to 309 cases in 2011. The total number of Chlamydia cases, including all age groups has also increased from 328 to 351 in the same period.

The results show Gonorrhoea has increased from 13 cases in 2009 to 25 in 2011 and the number of Herpes cases has increased from 57 in 2009 to 64 in 2011.

In contrast, figures released by the Health Protection Agency show STI cases decreasing by nearly 6% over the last two years across the region, with cases dropping from 58,154 cases in 2009 to 56,023 cases in 2010 and 54,842 cases diagnosed in 2011.

Lucinda Cawley, NHS Central Lancashire public health consultant, said: “There are a number of possible reasons behind the recently published STI figures.

“ These range from an increase in multi-agency work focused on raising awareness of sexual health to possible increases in risk taking behaviour, or a combination of both.

“As such, NHS Central Lancashire is continuing to work hard with several different agencies to improve sexual health of people living in Chorley. If you are having sex, using condoms is the only way to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea or HIV. It is important that anyone who has a new sexual partner, or couples who have not recently been tested for STIs, practice safer sex by using condoms.

“It is also important to have an STI test annually or with every change of sexual partner. Details of where to find your local sexual health service is available via NHS Central Lancashire website. Sexually active young people under 24 years of age can access Chlamydia screening free of charge via www.best2know.co.uk.”

Dr Roberto Vivancos, North West regional leader for Sexual Health with the Health Protection Agency said; “Improving awareness and encouraging safer sexual behaviour through education is essential to helping prevent STIs.”