Sex infection figures show ‘too many people’ having unsafe sex in Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar

15:00 09 June 2013

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria which causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria which causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea

DR GARY GAUGLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

SEXUALLY transmitted infections were on the rise in part of Times Territory and falling in another, the latest figures have revealed.

New statistics showed that Hertsmere, including Potters Bar, saw an increase in diagnoses of more than five per cent from 2009 to 2012.

The number of confirmed cases shot up from 11,461 to 12,064 – the five per cent rise was in line with a similar increase in England as a whole.

Increases were also seen in those aged 25 or over, which were up from 68,672 to 69,344.

Overall in all age groups in Hertsmere, there was an increase of around one-and-a-half per cent, from 98,910 to 100,379.

The picture in Welwyn Hatfield was effectively the opposite of Hertsmere’s figures and bucked the national trend.

There was a 4.2 per cent fall in cases in the 15 to 24 age bracket, a 1.8 per cent decrease in the 25 plus category, from 73,644 to 72,318, and overall for all age groups there were 2,109 fewer cases, from 112,836, in 2009, to 110,727 last year.

Nationally, STI diagnoses soared from 428,255 to 448,422, according to the Public Health England (PHE) data published last week.

A spokesman said: “Although overall diagnoses of new STIs are relatively stable in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes; there has been a 19 per cent increase in new diagnoses of gonorrhoea and herpes compared to 2011.”

Among men who have sex with men in the South Midlands and Hertfordshire region, new gonorrhoea diagnoses rose by 35 per cent, syphilis by 48 per cent and herpes by 38 per cent.

Those aged under-25 experienced the highest STI rates in 2012, contributing 65 per cent of all new chlamydia diagnoses, 52 per cent of all new genital warts diagnoses and 52 per cent of all new gonorrhea diagnoses.

Young adults were advised to test for chlamydia annually or if their sexual partner changes.

Dr Lorna Milne consultant in communicable disease control, South Midlands and Hertfordshire Public Health England Centre, said: “There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.

“However, the data shows too many people are continuing to have unsafe sex, putting themselves at risk of STIs and the serious consequences associated with infection, including infertility.”

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