Number of STIs fall in Great Yarmouth

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Norfolk's STI rates saw a decline in 2020, as seen across the country, as health experts urge people to take precautions now restrictions have lifted. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of people in the Great Yarmouth area found to have sexually transmitted infections has dropped significantly, new  health figures have shown.

Public Health England data shows 480 in every 100,000 people in the borough in 2020 were infected with potentially life-changing diseases including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

In 2019, 668 in 100,000 people in Great Yarmouth were diagnosed with an STI, according to the September 7 released data. 

Chlamydia, often symptomless, was the most common infection with 283 cases found in 2020. A further 38 gonorrhoea cases were diagnosed, as well as three of syphilis.

Ellen Ballantyne, service manager for iCaSH Norfolk runs sexual health services in the region, said: "STIs are still circulating in Great Yarmouth and so testing remains as important as ever.

“We have adapted to the challenges of Covid-19 to ensure that access to sexual health services has been maintained throughout the pandemic.

"Our online Express Test STI testing service for patients aged 16 and over has been expanded so that patients with certain symptoms can also access online testing after a telephone consultation.

"In addition, we have put arrangements in place to deliver treatments where clinically appropriate for STIs, and oral contraception, via Royal Mail following clinical consultations.

“While the lockdown has had an impact on STI rates, they certainly haven’t gone away.

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"We would encourage anyone who is sexually active to access a free test.”

Dr John McSorley, president of The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said a national drop in diagnoses highlighted the "stark and concerning" impact Covid-19 has had on sexual health services.

He added: "Whilst a drop in the number of new infections appears positive, it is important to remember that England entered the Covid pandemic with the highest rates of some STIs since the Second World War.

"This data therefore likely represents the tip of the iceberg.

"STIs haven't gone away, chains of infections haven't been broken."

Visit the iCash website for more information and advice.