Sexually Transmitted Infections up 12.1%


Notifiable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increased by 12.1% in 2004 when compared with 2003, according to the latest available figures released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre today (Wednesday).

The most commonly notified STIs in 2004 were ano-genital warts, genital chlamydia infection and non-specific urethritis.

Commenting on the figures, HPSC Specialist in Public Health Medicine, Dr Mary Cronin, said that while the increases in reported cases reflect unsafe sexual practices, other factors including the availability of more sophisticated testing methods and public and professional awareness of STIs generally, also contributed to the increases.

"Many STIs may have no signs or symptoms. For example, more than seven out of ten women infected with chlamydia have no symptoms and may not realise they are infected. STIs can have devastating consequences for people's health and fertility if undiagnosed and untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential if we are to control the spread of infections. I would urge those who are sexually active to practice safe sex. However, if a person feels they have put themselves at risk they should get checked out by their GP or clinic.

"Having another sexually transmitted infection also increases the risk of transmission and acquisition of HIV infection. The prevention messages have never been more important as there is no cure for HIV infection, although with advances in treatment more people are living with the infection." said Dr Cronin.

Details of the 2004 figures may be found in the full report here