Wigan sees fall in STI numbers

Fewer cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are being diagnosed in Wigan, bucking the trend across England.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 12:07 pm
Wigan has one of the lowest STI rates in England - and it is getting lower

Nationally, the number of new STIs diagnosed increased by a worrying seven per cent in 2018, according to new Public Health England data.

Other news: Children's hospice caring for Wigan youngsters joins campaign to raise awareness of its workHealth experts have put the trend down to new sexual habits linked to the use of dating apps, as well as public budget cuts in sexual health services.

But the same figures show 964 people were diagnosed with STIs in Wigan in 2018, compared to 1,050 the previous year.

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Coun Keith Cunliffe

That’s a rate of 467 people being diagnosed with a new infection per 100,000 Wigan residents aged 15 to 64 in the area, one of the lowest across the whole of England.

The figures include all new STIs cases diagnosed by sexual health services, excluding chlamydia in under-25s.

There were 140 new cases of gonorrhoea in the borouugh in 2018, up from 93 the previous year. A further 23 episodes were related to syphilis: two fewer than in 2017.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for adult social care, said: “It is great news that Wigan borough’s STI diagnoses rates continue to be low and we credit this to our hard-work in encouraging people to be regularly tested.

“We are committed to making sure that anybody who does have a sexually transmitted infection has easy access to the right treatment as early as possible and we work

closely with our sexual health service provider, Spectrum CIC, to ensure that this treatment and advice is readily available.

“Spectrum CIC is doing a fantastic job in working with health and education settings, communities and our young people to ensure that everybody receives the support they need and we will continue this partnership to keep our diagnoses rates low.”

Dr Mark Lawton, from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: “Gonorrhoea is a marker of unprotected sexual activity.

“The use of dating apps is likely to be contributing to the increase in STIs seen, along with general changes in attitudes to sex.

“This is happening at a time when we’re seeing significant cuts to funding of sexual health services, affecting access to timely testing and treatment and creating a ‘perfect storm’.”

Nationally, gonorrhoea increased by 25 per cent to 54,198 cases, the largest number recorded since 1978.

There were a further 7,287 cases of syphilis – a five per cent increase countrywide on 2017.