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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
Large rise in sex infection cases
The figures only show cases diagnosed at GUM clinics
The number of cases of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) has risen steeply in Scotland.

Chlamydia cases are four times that of 1996, and cases of infectious syphilis increased more than 10-fold.

The figures only include those infections diagnosed at genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said the rise was partly explained by greater awareness and improved testing.

While nearly 18,000 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed last year, less than half of these - 8,832 - were diagnosed at GUM clinics.

This compares with 8,095 cases diagnosed at GUM clinics the previous year.

2006 - 8,832
2005 - 8,095
2004 - 7,090
1996 - 1,770

The cases were mostly seen among people under 25.

The total number of cases of sexually-transmitted infections diagnosed at GUM clinics was 21,461, compared to 20,138 in 2005 - and fewer than 11,000 in 1996.

Nearly all types of infection showed an increase since 2005, although the number of newly-diagnosed cases of HIV fell from 111 to 88.

The number of cases of infectious syphilis went up from 188 in 2005 to 246 last year - more than 10-times the 1996 figure of 21 cases.

Officials said most of cases were among the gay community in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said poor sexual health was a major public health issue, and that NHS boards had been asked to address rising levels of sexually-transmitted infection as part of a Scotland-wide action plan.

She said: "Within health boards, a nominated NHS board director and lead clinician are responsible for taking forward actions in their area.

'Raise awareness'

She added that the executive had made an extra 4.5m per annum available over the financial years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 to improve clinic services.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon said the figure showed a "shocking and dramatic" increase, particularly in cases of chlamydia.

She added: "One of the most worrying concerns is that this STD is mainly symptomless and can lead to infertility.

"I hope that the new health secretary will raise awareness of this infection in both men and women, as the consequences of infertility can be devastating for those wishing to have children."

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the increase showed the need for urgent action and even more funding to improve sexual health services.

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