Region has biggest rise in sex diseases, says report

YORKSHIRE SAW the biggest increase in sexually-transmitted infections in England in the last year, new figures reveal.

A total of 39,600 cases were diagnosed in 2013 – up eight per cent on the previous year – against a national increase of less than one per cent.

More than half of cases were of chlamydia, which rose nine per cent, but there was a rise in gonorrhoea of 41 per cent and a 28 per cent hike in syphilis.

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Some of the increase appears to be due to under-reporting of cases in 2012 when responsibilities for public health were handed to councils. The highest rate of infection remains in Leeds.

Young heterosexual people aged 15 to 24 were most likely to been diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) and gay men were also disproportionately affected.

Daisy Ellis, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s concerning to see such a marked increase in rates of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis in Yorkshire which suggests that the safer sex message isn’t getting through to everyone. This is a further reminder that the current approach to sex education in schools is not fit for purpose, leaving too many young people unprepared for the pressures of modern relationships.

“Taught properly, sex and relationships education has been shown to delay sexual activity, reduce the number of sexual partners and increase the use of condoms and other contraception.”

Catherine Lowndes, consultant scientist in Public Health England’s STI surveillance team, said: “Sustained efforts to encourage people to get regularly check for STIs means we are now finding and treating more infections, which is good news. Nevertheless these data show too many people are still getting STIs each year, especially young adults and gay men.”