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STI SHOCKER: England’s Saucy Surge Leaves Clinics in a Tangle!


STI SHOCKER: England’s Saucy Surge Leaves Clinics in a Tangle!

In a steamy plot twist, England is swept up in a red-hot rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), turning sexual health services into a sizzling drama.

The Local Government Association (LGA) spills the spicy beans, revealing that over two-thirds of council areas are caught in the throes of a gonorrhoea and syphilis spree since 2017, sparking an emergency call for extra government funds.

The LGA, playing the role of the public health paparazzi, demands a financial lifeline to keep up with the soaring demand for sexual health services. Juicy data from the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID) exposes the cheeky truth – almost all council areas (97%) are now starring in their own STI soap opera.

Syphilis, the supporting character with a flair for the dramatic, takes the stage with a 71% increase in 71% of areas, injecting a dose of scandal into the script. Meanwhile, 36% of local authority areas are tangled up in their own chlamydia escapade.

As the demand for sexual health services becomes the hottest ticket in town, with nearly 4.5 million consultations in 2022 (a third more than in 2013), clinics are left doing a provocative dance to keep pace. Funding for these steamy services gets caught in a bureaucratic striptease, with an £880 million reduction in real-term public health grants between 2015 and 2024.

Image: Cllr David Fothergill

Cllr David Fothergill, the lead in this public health melodrama, adds a punchline to the chaos, stating:

“The Government needs to ensure sexual health funding is increased to levels that match these stark increases. It’s not a joke, it’s urgent!”

Image: Dr. Claire Dewsnap

Dr. Claire Dewsnap, our saucy script doctor and President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), delivers her lines with a hint of cheekiness, emphasising the need for a bold national strategy backed by
“adequate funding.” Because in this scandalous plot, sensibility takes a back seat.

Lucy Enenmoh, Newly Qualified Social Worker, shared her thoughts on the matter:

“I found the surge in STI’s quite surprising. Despite the NHS struggling with budgets and cuts, I feel that there’s still a lot of NHS backed clinics, services and resources out there for all members of society to navigate.”

Image: Man Zhou

Man Zhou, Medical Sciences Student at King’s College London, said:

“I think more time would definitely be required to tackle all of these issues – in terms of consultations, resources (i.e. condoms…contraception etc). NHS resources are definitely expanding, and I’m hopeful about the NHS’s future and all of its positive endeavours.”

A young female waiting in line at the Burrell Street, Sexual Health Clinic, vocalised:

“Hey, totally get what you’re saying! It’s wild how sex ed can be kind of uneven. Imagine if they made it less “boys on one side, girls on the other” and more like a squad learning together. We all need to know about protection and health, no matter our gender. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to hit up the internet or health clinics—solid sources for real talk. It’s all about making smart choices!”

As the curtain falls on this STI sensation, the call for a 10-year Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy echoes like a sultry saxophone – a promise for a sequel to this unexpected, yet tantalising, public health page-turner.

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