Oi Government… Sex ed is failing the young.
Research from Public Health England has revealed that there were nearly half a million (422,000) new sexually transmitted infections recorded in 2017. Although this number has been described as “stable” from the previous year, cases of syphilis have rocketed by 20 percent, from 5955 in 2016 to 7137 in 2017.
Worryingly, the highest rates of STIs are occurring in 16 to 24 year-olds, showing that the current sex ed situation in our schooling system is woefully inadequate.
There has been a fall in genital warts reported, which the report says reflects the widespread uptake of the HPV vaccine which is given to girls aged 12-13.
The HPV vaccine is not offered to boys of the same age.
Drops in chlamydia rise in gonorrhoea
The report also shows that there’s been an eight percent decline in chlamydia testing and a two percent drop in chlamydia diagnoses in 15-24-year-olds. However, there was a 22% rise in cases of gonorrhoea in 2017 compared to 2016 (from 36,577 in 2016 to 44,676 in 2017).
Dr Gwenda Hughes, Consultant Scientist and Head of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Section at PHE, said, “Sexually transmitted infections pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of your current and future sexual partners.
“Consistent and correct condom use with new and casual partners is the best defence against STIs, and if you are at risk, regular check-ups are essential to enable early diagnosis and treatment.”
PHE has recommended, “Those at risk of STIs can access services through sexual health or genitourinary medicine clinics. PHE recommend regular HIV and STI testing for those with new or casual partners. Men who have sex with men who are having condomless sex with new or casual partners should seek testing every three months. Local STI services can be located online via NHS Choices.
*A previous version of this article stated that the research was from NHS England, when in fact it was Public Health England. It has been corrected to reflect this.