Chlamydia rate is highest in region

RATES of sexually-transmitted infections are on the rise in North Somerset - with youngsters’ chlamydia diagnosis rates the highest in the South West.

Acute STI diagnoses per 100,000 people in North Somerset increased 3.4 per cent year-on-year from 2010-11.

Rates of new chlamydia diagnoses among the 15-24 group are up 31 per cent comparing 2009 to 2011, and are the highest in the South West out of 37 local authorities when taking population size into account.

North Somerset is still the fifth highest for youngsters’ with chlamydia when population is not taken into account.

The area is also the ninth highest local authority in the South West for overall rates of acute sexually-transmitted infection diagnoses per 100,000 of the population.

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The figures, released by the Health Protection Agency, show a general picture of increasing infection rates across both North Somerset and the South West as a whole.

Steve Jones, regional manager for the Terrence Higgins Trust in the West of England, said: “For years we have been warning that not enough is being done to reduce STIs and this is now clearer than ever.

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“Sexual health services are due to be transferred to local authorities in April 2013 as part of the NHS changes. The commissioning of sexual health services is already in a state of flux and uncertainty and this is likely to worsen over the next 18 months.

“These figures show us that the NHS cannot afford to take its foot off the pedal on sexual health now. Equally, local authorities have to prepare for the challenge that is coming their way. Investment in sexual health has to be maintained over the next few years in order to avoid much greater costs in the future.”

Herpes is up 12.86 per cent across all age groups in North Somerset comparing 2011 to 2009, while diagnoses of warts are up 5.7 per cent – although this is down slightly on 2010, when a peak of 104.6 people per 100,000 of the population had the condition.

Similarly, the figures for youngsters with chlamydia are a 4.9 per cent improvement on 2010, when 3,801.1 youngsters per 100,000 people had the disease - but are still almost a third higher than the 2,891.8 recorded in 2009.

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