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England's sexual health services 'at breaking point'

Sexual health services in England are at breaking point, according to local councils who are responsible for running the clinics.

They say that soaring rates of infections are threatening to overwhelm services and the government needs to provide extra funding.

Since 2017, more than two-thirds of council areas saw infection climb.

The Department of Health said more than £3.5bn has been allocated to local public health services this year.

The Local Government Association (LGA) - representing the councils that provide sexual health clinics - is warning that demand is soaring and services are struggling to keep up.

It is calling on the government to provide extra funding, as well as to publish a long-term plan to help prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections.

Nearly three-quarters of councils have seen a rise in rates of syphilis cases, and chlamydia infections are up in more than a third of areas.

Many of the new cases are younger people, and involve gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, but rates have also increased in heterosexual people.

Experts believe there has been a rebound effect after the restrictions connected to Covid, but infections were rising well before the pandemic hit.

There has also been a greater effort to test more people and improve access to services which may have led to more cases being identified.

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Source: BBC News, 20 January 2024


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