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International News

United Kingdom: Alcohol-Fueled Casual Sex Blamed for Rise in Infections

July 26, 2007

A new report by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) says casual sex, often involving alcohol use, is behind a rise in STDs. In addition, climbing levels of STDs among gay men suggest unsafe sex is increasing as fears of AIDS fade.

Among the report's findings:

  • The total number of STD cases rose by 2 percent last year, from 368,341 to 376,508.
  • Diagnoses of genital herpes among females ages 16-19 shot up by 16 percent.
  • Increases were noted in gonorrhea (3 percent), chlamydia (19 percent) and genital warts (4 percent).

"We are really quite concerned about genital herpes," said Gwenda Hughes of the HPA's center for infections. "It is a lifelong infection and not curable."

"We are seeing increasing levels of unsafe sexual behavior among gay men," Hughes said. "It may mean gay men are placing themselves at increasing risk of HIV infection."

Pat Troop, CEO of HPA, said media messages are not helping. "You don't see people in films pulling out a condom. The images that bombard young people don't make it easy for them."

In response, government social marketing campaigns are using the voices of young people infected with STDs to communicate with youths. "Young people listen to each other. It is a matter of having a really sustained program involving young people and easy access to services where they can get advice," Troop said.

Back to other news for July 2007

Adapted from:
The Guardian (London)
07.21.2007; Sarah Boseley

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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