WIGAN youngsters have been given strong warnings about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections after NHS figures revealed a dramatic rise in cases over the past 12 months.
Thousands of new infections were recorded in 2013 according to statistics released by Public Health England with incidents of chlamydia increasing by 16 per cent over the past year up from 1,331 in 2012 to 1,550 in 2013.
But more worryingly, 75 per cent of cases of the infection were among people aged between 15 and 24.
Cases of herpes rose from 192 to 201 while overall the amount of STI’s rose from 2,595 in 2012 to 2,737 last year.
Only cases of gonorrhoea, warts and syphilis fell in the past 12 months.
The news has brought about strong warnings from the borough’s public health chiefs.
Dr Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “We are committed to reducing the number of residents across the borough diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Improving our chlamydia screening programme and encouraging residents to be tested has been a key part of this.
“Together, Wigan Council and Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group are committed to improving the sexual health of its residents. There are a number of sexual health and contraception services available across the borough.
“I’d like to urge all those who are sexually active and are concerned that they may have an STI to book a check-up at a local clinic. Catching the infection early could reduce its impact later on in life.
“Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of catching or passing on an STI by consistently and correctly using condoms until all partners have had a sexual health screen, by reducing the number of sexual partners, and by avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.”
Groups that are at higher risk of STI are young people and gay men. Black African men and women that have migrated to the UK are also at higher risk. Public Health England provides the following advice:
Sexually active under 25 year olds should be screened for chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner
Men who have sex with men should have an HIV/STI screen at least annually or every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners
Black African men and women should also have an HIV test and a regular HIV/STI screen if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.”
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