Sexual Health Monday May 30, 2011

‘Urban deprived areas’ top list of STI hotspots

The most recent figures show diagnoses of Chlamydia increased by 7%, gonorrhoea cases grew by 6% and the number of people catching herpes rose by 5%.

Some experts say the reason STI cases are elevated in these urban areas are because sex education can be insufficient in these areas, or because young people don’t have the confidence to insist on using contraception. “In general, most STIs occur in young people because they lack the knowledge and self-esteem to actually avoid getting sexually transmitted infections,” Dr Colm O’Mahony told Radio 5 live.

The Health Protection Agency revealed that of the top ten STI hotspots in England, just one is outside London. As reported by BBC news, the ‘Top ten STI hotspots in England’ are:

  • Hackney
  • Lambeth
  • Southwark
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Islington
  • Haringey
  • Wandsworth
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Westminster
  • Brighton and Hove

Aside from an increasing number of new STI cases in young people, there’s now the increased risk of re-infection. Statistically speaking, one in ten young people will be re-infected with an STI in the same year. “Re-infection is a worrying issue,” said Dr Gwenda Hughes, an STI expert at the HPA. “Teenagers are repeatedly putting their own and others’ long-term health at risk”.

The most recent figures show diagnoses of Chlamydia increased by 7%, gonorrhoea cases grew by 6% and the number of people catching herpes rose by 5%.

Some experts say the reason STI cases are elevated in these urban areas are because sex education can be insufficient in these areas, or because young people don’t have the confidence to insist on using contraception. “In general, most STIs occur in young people because they lack the knowledge and self-esteem to actually avoid getting sexually transmitted infections,” Dr Colm O’Mahony told Radio 5 live.

Whether you live in one of the STI hotspots or in an area with a low rate of STIs, it can be embarrassing to visit your family doctor to take an STI test. If the idea of seeing a doctor or walking into a sexual health clinic fills you with dread, you can now buy STI home tests online which allow you to provide a sample at home and send to a lab.

You’ll be given the results and if the test comes back positive, a doctor will recommend medication to treat the STI. This means you can diagnose and treat an infection without ever having to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor or walk into a sexual health clinic, guaranteeing your privacy and saving you any embarrassment.

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