Warning to young as sex infections climb

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The number of people diagnosed with some sexually-transmitted infections, including incurable herpes and warts, is on the increase.

In Dacorum cases of gonorrhoea, which can cause infertility, went up by eight last year, herpes rose by 32 new cases to 70 and 190 people were diagnosed with warts – up 53 on the previous year.

Syphilis, which can treated with antibiotics, has decreased by two, with just one new case in the borough last year.

Medical experts from Public Health England say their latest figures must be treated with caution as, in addition to unsafe sexual behaviour, the rise in numbers is partly due to improvements in data collection, increased screening and better testing methods.

Overall in Herts, diagnoses of new STIs are relatively stable but there has been increases in certain infections.

Public Health England –the new executive agency for the Department of Health – says gonorrhoea rates are a concern as the global threat of antibiotic resistance grows and ensuring treatment resistant strains of the infection do not persist and spread remains a public health priority. The Gonorrhoea Resistance Action Plan for England and Wales was launched in early 2013.

Nationally, those aged under 25 experienced the highest STI rates in 2012, contributing to 65 per cent of all new chlamydia cases and more than half of all new genital warts and gonorrhea cases.

Dr Lorna Milne, from the South Midlands and Hertfordshire Public Health England Centre, said: “There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.

“However, the data shows too many people continue to have unsafe sex, putting themselves at risk of STIs and the serious consequences associated with infection, including infertility.”