Rapid rise in sexual infections

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 diagnoses of chlamydia doubled. The
highest rates of both infections were among women aged 16 to 19 and
men aged 25 to 34.

Chlamydia 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 British Medical Association said some patients were having
to wait for weeks for treatment because genito-urinary clinics
could not cope with the increase.

BMA chair James Johnson said: “During the First World War, a
free, rapid and totally confidential service was set up. Nearly a
century later patients can wait up to six weeks for an appointment
at a clinic. What use is that?

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