Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in England
Britain on the whole, is not in particularly good shape when it comes to our weight or indeed our sexual health. Year on year we hear shocking news reports about teenage girls falling pregnant and annual figures on sexual health seem to always show increases across the board. As it happens, statistics released this year from the Health Protection Agency show a 2% rise in new cases of sexually transmitted infection (STI) for England during 2011. Within this, there is a 10% increase in syphilis diagnoses – incidentally now at its biggest infection rate since the 1950s. Worryingly, the percent rise of syphilis cases isn’t even the worst of the lot. In fact, gonorrhoea rates spiralled 25% during 2010-11 and there was also a 5% increase in cases of genital herpes. The latter may explain why we at Medical Specialists Pharmacy have been inundated with thousands of requests for genital herpes treatment in the subsequent two years. In what is another problem that arises from failing to first buy condoms, and then to actually use them, the Depart of Health’s Framework for Sexual Health Improvement also paint a damning, alarming picture. Abortion rates have gone up by 7.7% in the decade between 2001 and 2011, which is no surprise when more statistics show that up to 50% of pregnancies weren’t even planned. The Government together with healthcare professionals are continually battling to reverse the trends on STIs and pregnancies and it is this reason why awareness days/events take place every year, such as Sexual Health Week, National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day – all of which Medical Specialists have proudly supported by giving away 1,000s of condoms with any sexual health product. In fact pharmacies such as Medical Specialists are at the forefront of providing sexual health services to the many millions of people who need them. These services are absolutely vital to people all over the UK and indeed the world, and include things such as medicine supply; this could be chlamydia treatment, genital herpes treatment, or treatment for gonorrhoea. Also many pharmacies such as ourselves can offer pregnancy tests to be conducted in the comfort of your own home, a wide variety of condoms to suit different preferences, emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill), other contraceptive pills, and even a chlamydia test you can take at home and post off for a quick analysis and result, saving you the time and embarrassment of having to personally attend a clinic for a check-up. The role of pharmacy clearly has an important role to play in changing people’s attitudes to STIs, unplanned pregnancy, contraception, and other sexual health subjects. However, what is required is people to reach out and ask for help, don’t be afraid, know that there at pharmacies who will not judge and are purely there to help. Let’s make 2014 a healthy year…Together.