Health warning as STI diagnoses soar across the Lothians
DOCTORS have fired a sexual health warning after a dramatic rise in the number of gonorrhoea cases in the Lothians.
In 2011, 361 people – most of them aged under 30 – tested positive for the sexually transmitted infection (STI), which can cause infertility if left untreated, as figures rocketed 80 per cent from 200 the previous year.
Nearly half of women and one-tenth of men with the condition will not display any symptoms, sparking fears that the true number of people infected could be far higher.
Dr Gordon Scott, an NHS Lothian consultant specialising in sexual health, believes that better detection methods lay behind the rise.
He said: “Testing for gonorrhoea has improved over recent years, with a more accurate test now widely available. This test was introduced in Lothian in 2011 and has contributed to the rise in the number of positive results for gonorrhoea.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be at risk to have a routine STI test. This service is offered by GPs and specialist sexual health services. If the test is positive, the infection is treated with a course of antibiotics.”
For the cases of gonorrhoea that were detected in Lothian last year, 257 were identified in men while 103 women contracted the infection. The gender of one person is not known.
A rate of 61 cases per 100,000 people was recorded in the area – second only to Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where 73 cases per 100,000 were reported. The Scottish average is 44. Meanwhile, new cases of genital chlamydia in Lothian hit a three-year high, with 3307 reported in 2011, compared with 2940 the previous year.
However, HIV cases appear to be on the decrease, with 42 people newly diagnosed in the first six months of 2012.
In the whole of 2011, 99 people in the region were confirmed as HIV positive, rising from 92 new cases in 2010.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The increase is in part due to a rise in the number of people using a more sensitive test for gonorrhoea and improvements in services which have led to an increase in testing and, in turn, an increase in detections.”
BACK IN TIME
Gonorrhoea cases in
2008 ................................ 202
2009 ................................. 185
2010 ................................ 200
2011 ................................... 361
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