Sexually Transmitted Infections up 9.4%. Largest rises in syphilis, hepatitis B, herpes and chlamydia


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) increased by 9.4% in 2001 when compared with 2000, according to the latest available figures released by the National Disease Surveillance Centre today (Tuesday).

The largest increases were in syphilis, which rose by 506.5% and infectious hepatitis B which was up by 160%. Other significant increases include genital herpes simplex (up 23.1%), chlamydia (up 22.8%) and gonorrhoea which saw a 20.3% rise.

Commenting on the figures, NDSC Specialist in Public Health Medicine, Dr Mary Cronin, said that while the increases in reported cases reflect unsafe sexual practices, other factors include increased testing for chlamydia and greater public and professional awareness of STIs.

"I would urge those who are sexually active to practice safe sex, as most STIs are preventable.
Many STIs, like chlamydia, may have no signs or symptoms. Almost all STIs are easily treated and cured if identified, but early diagnosis and treatment is important as, if left untreated, irreversible complications including infertility and ectopic pregnancies can arise.

"Those who have a sexually transmitted infection are also more vulnerable to HIV, and have a higher chance of passing on, or acquiring the disease.

"The most commonly reported infections in 2001 were anogenital warts, non specific urethritis and chlamydia."