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BPAS responds to rise in STI diagnoses in young people (2007 Health Protection Agency Statistics)

Published 15 July 2008

The Health Protection Agency has published statistics today showing a 6% increase in the number of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) newly diagnosed in the UK across all age groups, with 397,990 new STIs diagnosed in GUM clinics in 2007 compared to 375,843 cases in 2006.

Chris Plummer of the sexual healthcare charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service, responded to the documented rise in STI infections particularly in young people, saying

‘It is difficult to assess the true picture of sexually transmitted infections, because part of the increase in diagnosed infections is undoubtedly due to improvements in access to STI screening, which has been targeted at 16-24 year olds.

'However, simply advocating condom use and better sex and relationships education does not seem to prevent young people spreading infections- nor does suggesting that they should abstain from sex.   

'Getting young people screened and treated with an accessible, discreet and quick service is the answer. New services like ‘bpas by post’ support existing GUM services by providing reliable testing and treatments online. NHS PCTs are considering funding this innovative service, so that it can be offered to young people to access online for free.’ 



BPAS by Post ( is a new service from the charity BPAS, which gives patients online access to a sexual health doctor, regulated and registered with the Healthcare Commission. Doctors offer home testing for STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes, with results available confidentially online, and if appropriate, will remotely prescribe STI treatment for home use.

To maximise treatment take-up if a test shows positive, drug treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomonas is offered free of charge via remote prescribing. BPAS clinics have offered chlamydia and STI testing in a traditional sexual health clinic setting for many years and will continue to do so, while developing the ‘by Post’ service in recognition of the increasing preference of clients to access services online. 

Today’s Health Protection Agency report stated that ‘young people (aged 16-24 years old) are the age group most at risk of being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, accounting for 65% of all chlamydia, 50% of genital warts and 50% of gonorrhoea infections diagnosed in genitourinary medicine clinics across the UK in 2007.

  • The most common sexually transmitted infection in young people is genital chlamydia. The National Chlamydia Screening Programme in England performed 270,729 screens in under 25 year olds in 2007: 9.5% of screens in women and 8.4% in men were positive for chlamydia. A further 79,557 diagnoses of genital chlamydia infection were made among young people in genitourinary medicine clinics in the UK in 2007, (a rate of 1,102 per100,000 16-24 year olds), a rise of 7% on 2006.
  • Genital warts were the second most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection among young people in genitourinary medicine clinics, with 49,250 cases diagnosed in 2007 (682 per 100,000), a 8% rise on 2006.
  • Increases in diagnoses reflect greater ascertainment of cases through more testing and improved diagnostic methods, as well as indicating increased unsafe sexual behaviour among young people.’ 

To see annual STI data go to HPA website, ‘Selected STI diagnoses and diagnosis rates from genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in the United Kingdom: 2003-2007, where point number 4, Table 1A (for the UK) breaks down the infections into the different age groups.  

For more information or comment, please call the BPAS press office on 020 7612 0206 or 07788 725 185.


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