News Monday May 13, 2013

London borough identified as having England’s highest number of herpes infections

The London borough of Islington has one of the highest rates for STIs in England, and has the most cases of herpes.

Statistics from the Health Protection Agency show that for every 100,000 people living in Islington in 2010 there were 178 diagnoses of herpes. Significantly, this is 13% higher than the rate in the area that is second-highest for herpes cases. In addition, only cases that were diagnosed at a sexual health clinic were included, meaning that the real rate is likely to be much higher.

Rates for other sexually transmitted infections were also high, with Islington scoring as having the third-highest number of gonorrhoea infections in the country. It is also one of the worst areas for genital warts and syphilis. Of all the STIs to occur in the borough, chlamydia was most common, with 584 reported diagnoses for every 100,000 people.

Dr Eva Jungmann, a senior consultant who works at a sexual health clinic in Archway, was quoted in the Islington Gazette. She suggested part of the blame for the high rates was due to budget cuts: “Health education activities for young people and outreach projects have been cut - so I would not be surprised to see further increases.”

The trend for high rates of STIs occurs across London, as the city’s rates of STIs are 50% higher than the rest of England. Herpes is an incurable STI, but the recurrent outbreaks that the virus causes can be treated with medications such as Valtrex and Famvir.

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