Britain Launches Drive Against Surge in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
November 16, 2006
Saturday marked the launch of new £4 million ($7.6 million US) campaign aimed at fighting an increase in STDs among young people in Britain, particularly those ages 18-24. The campaign on TV, Internet, radio and newspapers seeks to highlight the fact that people cannot easily tell if someone is infected with an STD and features teenagers wearing underwear with slogans such as "I've got gonorrhea" and "I'll give you one," meaning an STD. A box with the words "CONDOM Essential Wear," designed to look like a fashion label, accompanies the ads.
"The aim of this campaign is to make carrying and using a condom among this age group as familiar as carrying a mobile phone, lipstick or putting on a seatbelt," said Public Health Minister Caroline Flint. "This is not about encouraging promiscuity but about saying to those who are already sexually active: sex without a condom is seriously risky so always use one."
STD rates have been rising in the United Kingdom since the 1990s, with one in nine sexually active young people infected with chlamydia. From 2004 to 2005, the Health Protection Agency found that STD diagnoses increased by 3 percent to 790,387. The biggest rise was in syphilis, which spiked by more than 20 percent, but increases were also seen in chlamydia, genital warts and herpes.
Advocates, including the HIV/AIDS charity Terrance Higgins Trust, welcomed the campaign but warned it must be sustained into the future. "What we really need to see is a commitment from the government that over the next three years they will continue to support these campaigns," said Nick Partridge, THT's CEO.
Agence France Presse