Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

'Concern' over STIs among women

STI test results
Almost 18,000 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed last year

Rising rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young women in Scotland are of "particular concern", a new report has warned.

NHS figures also found that under-25s accounted for 61% of all STI diagnoses made in specialist clinics in 2007.

Gonorrhea cases in females of all ages were at the highest level in a decade after a 38% increase. There was also a 10% rise in genital herpes among women.

Health Protection Scotland said the rise could be a result of more testing.

There were a total of 22,906 STI diagnoses made at Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics in 2007 - almost double the total of 11,690 in 1997.

'Particular concern'

The clinics made 2,045 diagnoses of chlamydia in women aged under 20, and 1,893 diagnoses in women aged between 20 and 24.

There were 1,103 diagnoses of genital warts in women under 20 and 1,166 in females in the 20 to 24 age range, while there were 170 cases of genital herpes in females under 20 and 309 cases in women aged 20 to 24.

The report said: ""Young people aged less than 25 are the group most at risk of being diagnosed with an STI.

"The increase in infections among young women aged less than 25 is of particular concern."

It is clear there is still much work to do to improve our sexual health
Shona Robison
Public Health Minister

While cases of gonorrhea rose among women, from 175 in 2006 to 242 last year, there was a 27% decrease in the number of gay men being diagnosed with the infection.

The figures showed there were 453 new cases of HIV identified in 2007 in Scotland, the highest annual total since recording began in 1984, and a 39% year-on-year rise.

Ailsa Spindler, national director of sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said: "It's very encouraging that sexual health screening is on the rise but with high levels of undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections we must do even more to get people through the doors.

"Not everyone is comfortable attending traditional GUM services so Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland offers tests from venues in city centres."

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said it was encouraging to see increased awareness of and testing for STIs.

But she added: "It is clear there is still much work to do to improve our sexual health.

"That's why we are developing a social marketing campaign which will aim to promote better sexual health, focusing on the need for us to be more open and willing to discuss relationships and sexual health matters."

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SEE ALSO
Sharp rise in STIs among over-35s
10 Sep 08 |  Scotland
'Dozens' of under-16s have STIs
07 Sep 08 |  Scotland
Young people speak about sex
07 Sep 08 |  North East/N Isles
Warning over HIV 'ignorance' risk
17 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Figures reveal rise in HIV cases
19 Nov 08 |  Scotland

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