New figures indicate that sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
are rising rapidly among young people.
Between 1997 and 2002 there was an increase of 97 per cent in
diagnoses of gonorrhoea, and 103 per cent in diagnoses of
chlamydia. The highest rates of both infections were among women
aged 16 to 19 and men aged 25 to 34.
Chalamydia can cause infertility, but it often shows no
High risk sexual behaviour is one of the main factors behind the
increase. But there were also concerns about delays in diagnosing
and treating STIs, which make it more likely that complications
will occur and that infections will be passed on.
The BMA confirmed that genitourinary clinics were unable to cope
with the increase in the incidence of STIs, and that as a result
some patients were having to wait for weeks for treatment.
BMA chairman James Johnson said,
“It is a scandal that the service we offer patients today
is worse than it was ninety years ago. During the First World War a
free, rapid and totally confidential service was set up to treat
sexually transmitted infections.
“Nearly a century later patients who turn up at GUM
clinics can wait up to six weeks for an appointment. What use is