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By Romana Roske on 7.12.2023

Kent’s STIs on the rise

The figure of chlamydia patients has risen dramatically in the last ten years in Kent.

In Medway alone, the figure has increased by 122 per cent from 224 cases in 2005-06 to 497 in 2007-08.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust published a statistic showing that the figure for genital warts has risen by 54 per cent from 681 cases to 1,051 within the last year.

In order to raise awareness about the sexually transmitted diseases, boroughs such as Havering have, with the support of the NHS, sent 27,000 letters to people between 16 and 24-years-old offering them a free testing kit for chlamydia. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease in Britain and can be transferred through penetrative and oral sex.

According to Public Health Director Meradin Peachey, who works on behalf of Kent County Council and the county’s primary care trusts, the problem with chlamydia and genital warts is that they are both easy to catch and pass on.

“It has a lot to do with young people not making healthy choices, such as becoming sexually active too early or drinking too much on a night out and not thinking about the potential consequences of what they are doing.”

Chlamydia is more common in women and, in a case of improper treatment, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, fertility problems, ectopic pregnancy (where the baby grows outside the womb) and chronic pelvic pain.

A woman can pass on chlamydia to her baby if she has the disease at the time of birth. However, through medical treatment with antibiotics the mother and her infant can be cured.

Dr Chula Wijesurendra, a consultant at Medway hospital’s sexual health clinic, advises that people need to be educated more about the potential consequences of unprotected sex.

“We advise people between the ages of 16 to 25 to have sexual health checks at least once a year. People often have no idea they have chlamydia and are then understandably devastated when in some cases they find out they cannot have children because of it.”

Chlamydia tests are often taken by using a urine sample and once diagnosed the patient is treated with antibiotics and must avoid sexual contact for a week.

Nevertheless, it is astonishing that despite sexual education in school, many youths are careless as far as contraceptives are concerned. One reason behind that, according to some doctors, is the fact that the access to medical treatment has never been easier and faster.

It seems that many feel too comfortable disregarding contraceptives, because they know that many sexually transmitted infections can be treated easily.

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