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Brighton and Hove's "party town" tag blamed for rise in STD
9:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
A rise in the accessibility of easy sex has been blamed for a significant rise in cases of gonorrhoea.
The number of people infected with the disease has increased by almost 60% in just two years in Brighton and Hove, lifting the city’s population to three times the national rate of infections.
Sexual health experts said a drop in condom use, improved testing, a high gay male population and under-25s treating the city as a “party town” also lay behind the spike.
The latest figures available from the Health Protection Agency reveal there were 107 diagnoses per 100,000 of the population in 2011 compared to 71 in 2009.
By comparison, there were 39 diagnoses per 100,000 of the population in England as a whole, nine diagnoses for East Sussex and 17 for West Sussex.
The HPA announced its first Gonorrhoea Resistance Action Plan for England and Wales last week to tackle the problem.
Stephen Nicholson, the lead commissioner for HIV and sexual health in Brighton and Hove, said the city’s figures were comparable with other major cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham.
Mr Nicholson said: “Our aim is to reduce the number of undiagnosed infections and the increase in diagnoses is likely to continue over the next couple of years and then plateau as we work to reduce the number of undiagnosed cases.
“We are also in line with the national trend of an increase in older generations coming out of long-term relationships who haven’t needed to worry about contraception and protection and then find themselves in new relationships.”
Ross Boseley, a health promotion coordinator for the Terrence Higgins Trust in Brighton, said the increasing ease and availability of sex with different partners through the internet was also a factor.
He said the charity offered non-clinical testing options at their offices in Ship Street every Mon- day evening and at Brighton Sauna in Grand Parade.
He added: “People have a very English approach to sexual health, so our approach is to try and make testing as practical and simple as possible.”
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