Sexually-transmitted infections on the rise in the North East

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SEXUALLY-TRANSMITTED Infections (STIs) are on the increase across the North East.

New figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed 20,602 people in the region were diagnosed with an STI last year, compared to 20,567 in 2010.

Dr Kirsty Foster, sexual health lead for the HPA in the North East said: “These latest figures show that, in common with the rest of the UK, poor sexual health continues to be a serious problem in the North East.”

In the North East, the most commonly diagnosed STI continues to be chlamydia, with 10,724 new cases, though this was three per cent down on 2010.

Cases of gonorrhoea were up most, rising 28 per cent, from 600 in 2010 to 769 in 2011.

Dr Foster added: “The sharp rise in gonorrhoea cases is a particular cause for concern, as we know drug resistance is emerging and we can no longer rely on treatment alone.

“These are all preventable infections and it’s crucial that we continue to communicate messages about safe sex, including condom wearing, and the importance of getting checked out if you’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner.

“Quick diagnosis is of the essence, so anyone who thinks they may have put themselves at risk of contracting an STI, or who has symptoms of an STI should go to their local GUM clinic at the earliest opportunity.”