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Found 12 results
  1. News Article
    A record number of people in England were diagnosed with gonorrhoea last year, annual UK Health Security Agency figures show. Diagnoses rose 7.5% - from 79,268 in 2022 to 85,223 in 2023. Syphilis, meanwhile, rose 9.4% - from 8,693 to 9,513, the highest number since 1948 - with more heterosexual men and women becoming infected. Overall, sexually transmitted infection diagnoses, including several different STIs, rose 4.7%. The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV said the rise in STIs was a “concerning indicator” of pressure on sexual-health services and called for a new strategy. President Prof Matt Phillips said: “We find ourselves at a critical point for securing the viability of sexual-health services. “From recruitment challenges, to public-health funding, to ensuring the right experts are supporting every clinic, the next government has an opportunity to change the tides and address these barriers, to ensure everyone has timely access to expertise to support good sexual health and wellbeing.” Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 June 2024
  2. News Article
    Black people have the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections in Britain and officials are not doing enough to address the issue, sexual health experts have warned. Black Britons have “disproportionally high rates” of various STI diagnoses compared to white Britons, with those of Black Caribbean heritage specifically having the highest rates for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes and trichomoniasis. Experts have told The Independent that healthcare providers are failing to address these disparities in STIs. They have called for more research to fully understand the complicated reasons why STIs are higher among people of Black ethnicity. Research conducted through the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) found that there were no clinical or behavioural factors explaining the disproportionately high rates of STI diagnoses among Black people. But higher rates of poverty and poor health literacy among marginalised communities are all linked with higher STI rates, according to a 2016 study, which found that behavioural and contextual factors are likely to be contributing. Moreover, experiences of racism among Black people can fuel a reluctance to engage with sexual health services and test frequently, according to HIV activist Susan Cole-Haley. She told The Independent: “I very much believe that it is linked to socioeconomic disadvantage and racism, often in healthcare settings, which can be a significant barrier for people accessing testing, for instance, and feeling comfortable engaging with care.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 February 2023
  3. News Article
    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. Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 January 2024
  4. News Article
    The prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and deaths from drug overdoses increased in the US over the past two years, showing the pandemic’s effect on public health. “Even in the face of a pandemic, 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis were reported,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. STDs declined during the early months of the pandemic in 2020 but then increased rapidly. Cases of gonorrhoea increased by 10% during 2020 compared with 2019. Cases of primary and secondary syphilis increased by 7% and congenital syphilis in newborns increased by 13%.2 New data suggest that primary and secondary syphilis—the most infectious stages of the disease—continued to increase during 2021, the CDC said. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s national centre for HIV, viral hepatitis, STD, and tuberculosis prevention, said, “The unrelenting momentum of the STD epidemic continued even as prevention services were disrupted.” His colleague, Leandro Mena, director of CDC’s division of STD prevention, said, “The pandemic increased awareness of a reality we’ve long known about STDs. Social and economic factors—such as poverty and health insurance status—create barriers, increase health risks, and often result in worse health outcomes for some people.” Another disturbing trend during the pandemic has been the increase of deaths from drug overdoses, especially among teenagers. Just over 100 000 Americans died of drug overdoses during the year to April 2021, according to the CDC’s national centre for health statistics—an increase of 28.5% from the previous year. Read full story Source: BMJ, 19 August 2022
  5. News Article
    Patients are being put at risk in the UK because very few sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests offered online meet official standards, experts have warned. The NHS provides free in-person tests for STIs via its network of sexual health and genitourinary medicine clinics. Patients can also order tests via the internet from both NHS-commissioned and private providers, a practice that has become increasingly popular during the pandemic. However, new research in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal published by the BMJ found that few online STI test services meet national recommended standards, with independent sector providers the least likely to be compliant. Online tests involve the user ordering a kit and either self-sampling by posting the specimen for laboratory analysis, or self-testing by interpreting the test themselves. The research found that the commercial self-sample providers, which advertised to those with symptoms, did not differentiate by STI symptom severity, and eight – seven private and one NHS-commissioned provider – offered no advice on accessing preventive treatment after exposure to HIV as recommended. Self-test providers did not appear to offer any form of order of treatment for patients and five offered tests that were intended for professional use only. The research concluded: “Regulatory change is required to ensure that the standard of care received online meets national guidelines to protect patients and the wider population from the repercussions of underperforming or inappropriate tests." “If we do not act now, patients will continue to receive suboptimal care with potentially significant adverse personal, clinical and public health implications.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 April 2022
  6. News Article
    Gonorrhoea cases hit record levels last year, while syphilis diagnosis reached the highest level since just after the Second World War, new figures show. New data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKSA) shows 8,692 cases of syphilis were recorded in 2022, the largest annual figures since 1948. Gonorrhoea cases hit a high of 82,592 last year - a 50% increase compared to 2021. This is the highest number in any one year since records began in 1918, according to the UKHSA. The public health authority said gonorrhoea cases are becoming “increasingly resistant” to antibiotics and are “at risk of becoming untreatable in the future.” Overall there was a 24% increase in sexually transmitted infection diagnoses in 2022 and local council leaders warned sexual health services are “at risk of breaking point” as demand rises alongside real-term cuts to funding. Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 June 2023
  7. News Article
    Gonorrhoea cases in England have resurged since the easing of Covid restrictions, health officials are warning people who are sexually active. The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods, but some people will have no symptoms. Condoms can stop the spread of this and other sexually transmitted infections. Experts say people should practise safe sex and get tested regularly if they are having sex with new or casual partners. Testing is simple, free and discreet, they advise. Provisional data shows diagnoses in the first half of 2022 hit 56,327 - 21% higher than for the same period in 2019. An untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 March 2023
  8. News Article
    Sharply rising cases of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including a 26% rise in new syphilis infections reported last year, are prompting US health officials to call for new prevention and treatment efforts. “It is imperative that we ... work to rebuild, innovate, and expand (STD) prevention in the US,” said Leandro Mena of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a speech on Monday at a medical conference on sexually transmitted diseases. Infections rates for some STDs, including gonorrhoea and syphilis, have been rising for years in the US. Last year the rate of syphilis cases reached its highest since 1991 and the total number of cases hit its highest since 1948. HIV cases are also on the rise, up 16% last year. An international outbreak of monkeypox has further highlighted the nation’s worsening problem with diseases spread mostly through sex. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, called the situation “out of control”. Officials are working on new approaches to the problem, such as home-test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others, Mena said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 September 2022
  9. News Article
    The failure to address the mental-health needs of people with HIV could lead to an increase in infections, a cross-party group of MPs suggests. People with HIV are twice as likely to experience mental-health difficulties. However, in those with depression, support raises adherence to medication by 83%. But most HIV clinics have no mental-health professionals on staff, which, the MPs say, could be reversing progress made over the past decade toward ending the epidemic in the UK. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on HIV and AIDS met with patients living with HIV at a range of hospital trusts throughout England, as well as numerous healthcare professionals. Unless serious mental-health treatment shortfalls are addressed, the government will fail to achieve its target of zero transmissions by 2030, its report says. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 March 2020
  10. Content Article
    The public health grant is paid to local authorities from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) budget. It is used to provide vital preventative services that help to support health. This includes smoking cessation, drug and alcohol services, children's health services and sexual health services, as well as broader public health support across local authorities and the NHS.
  11. News Article
    People living with HIV in England and Wales can now choose to have their Covid vaccine through specialist clinics, without notifying their GP. NHS England has updated its guidance for people not comfortable with sharing their status. Everyone with HIV should be in vaccine priority groups four or six, and offered a jab by mid-April at the latest. But campaigners worried stigma would cause some to miss out. The updated guidance, obtained by the i newspaper, follows the lead of NHS Wales which put the same measures in place last week. Head of leading HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, said: "Some may be surprised to hear that a significant number of people living with HIV feel unable to talk to their GP about their HIV status, but this underlines how much stigma still surrounds the virus even in 2021." "This is great news and the right decision from the NHS as it means people living with HIV will be able to take up the potentially life-saving Covid-19 vaccine at their earliest opportunity. We are working towards a society where everyone living with HIV feels comfortable sharing their status with their doctor and other health professionals, but we're not there yet and we welcome this fast, pragmatic action." Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 February 2021
  12. Content Article
    In this opinion piece for The Guardian, Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh discusses the global threat of monkeypox—a virus that causes fever, swollen lymph nodes and distinctive rashes on the face, palms, the soles of the feet and genitalia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the recent outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. Professor Sridhar highlights the need to take a collaborative approach across borders to ensure the outbreak is brought under control. She outlines that the most effective strategy in preventing the virus spreading further is to protect the group most at risk from the virus—men who have sex with men (MSM)—through vaccination.
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