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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Concern at 'terrifying' STD rise
Dr Richard Taylor
People have become complacent about condoms, Dr Richard Taylor claims.
The number of new cases of sexually- transmitted diseases diagnosed every year in Birmingham and the Black Country has gone up by 70% since 1997.

Figures from the Department of Health revealed a rise of 44% in Shropshire and Staffordshire during that time.

There has been an increase of 35% in Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The independent MP for Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, retired GP Dr Richard Taylor, said the rise is "terrifying".

HIV is still a potential worldwide epidemic
MP Dr Richard Taylor

Dr Taylor, who is a member of the Commons Health Committee, said: "What has really alarmed me is the return of syphilis.

" This is a medieval disease which was virtually conquered back in the 1950s."

He also claimed people have become a "bit blasť" about using condoms.

Dr Taylor added: "They were warned about HIV, and the epidemic didn't emerge as feared.

"In fact HIV is still a potential worldwide epidemic, as the situation in parts of Africa tells us. Other diseases can also be extremely serious."

Education revamp

The committee conducted an inquiry into the treatment and prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases last year.

In its report it said teenage sexual advice clinics run by health workers should be established at secondary schools and nightclubs.

The MPs also recommended another revamp of school lessons which, they say, often concentrate on the biological aspects of sex, without giving enough time to the emotional aspects.

Dr Taylor said that during the inquiry he was stunned at people's lack of awareness about how STDs are contracted.

He added: "We spoke to people who believed that if the girl was on the pill, to prevent pregnancy, it would prevent sexually-transmitted diseases."

A total of 18,484 new cases are diagnosed every year in the region.

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