Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Unsafe sex causes high infection rates in region

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Hampshire County Council is highlighting safer sex and screening advice to help reduce further the rate of sexually transmitted infections.

Data released by Public Health England indicates a small decrease in the number of new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in local sexual health clinics across the Wessex area which includes Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

However rates of STIs remain high and Public Health England says this suggests that too many people are continuing to put themselves at risk through unsafe sex especially young adults and men who have sex with men.

Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed in Hampshire followed by genital warts and herpes. Those aged under 25 experience the highest STI rates contributing to almost 74 per cent of Chlamydia diagnoses in the area.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing said: "Left untreated, sexually transmitted infections can lead to a range of complications including ectopic pregnancy, infertility, disability, cancer and premature death. As part of our new public health responsibilities, Hampshire County Council already commissions a range of programmes and services delivered in a variety of community settings that support people to develop and maintain good sexual health.

"Getting screened for HIV and STIs can lead to early diagnosis and treatment, as often these infections have no symptoms. In addition, reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships can reduce the risk of being infected with an STI."

Individuals can also significantly reduce their risk of catching or passing on an STI by:

  • Always using a condom when having sex with casual and new partners.
  • Getting tested regularly if in one of the highest risk groups:
  • 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 having unprotected sex with casual or new partners should have an HIV/STI screen at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly.

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