County bucks sexual health trend
SUFFOLK is bucking the national trend and is on target to meet Government goals for sexual health, it was revealed today.The majority of sexual health clinics in the UK are struggling to provide appointments and screening due to a lack of Government funding, according to a report released on Thursday .
SUFFOLK is bucking the national trend and is on target to meet Government goals for sexual health, it was revealed today.
The majority of sexual health clinics in the UK are struggling to provide appointments and screening due to a lack of Government funding, according to a report released on Thursday .
However, thanks to an innovative screening project, figures in Suffolk are heading in the right direction.
Pam Frost, Suffolk Primary Care Trust's chlamydia screening coordinator, said: “Fortunately, we are not experiencing the delay in funding other counties are.”
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In August last year a programme was set up to ease the pressure on the county's sexual health clinics by doing chlamydia screening in the community.
By the end of January, 871 people aged under 25 had been screened and 96 found to have the infection and subsequently treated.
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Mrs Frost said: “Three quarters of young people who have chlamydia don't have symptoms and one in ten have it.
“By offering this outreach programme, in places like colleges and young offenders' institutes, we are freeing up the clinics for other contraceptive services.
“There's a Government target for us to screen 15per cent of Suffolk's 66,000 young people from April this year to March next year and thanks to funding for this screening project we are looking to meet it.
“I was called in to up the game and work towards it.”
Thursday's report said despite sexual health being one of the Government's top NHS priorities, plans are not always implemented on the ground.
Spearheaded by the charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, the British HIV Association, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and Providers of AIDS Care and Treatment, it said cash allocated in the 2004 Choosing Health white paper was being held back by primary care trusts and strategic health authorities.
N Do you think the Government is committed to sexual health? Have you benefited from services in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
N Between 1996 and 2005 the number of diagnoses of STIs made at sexual health clinics increased by 60per cent.
N There was a 1,954pc increase of infectious syphilis between the same years.
N Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK.
N An estimated 63,500 adults are now living with HIV in the UK, with around a third unaware of their infection.
N In 1993, the Government made sex education, including teaching on HIV/Aids and other STIs, compulsory in schools in the UK - but parents have the right to withdraw their children from lessons.