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Sexually transmitted infection rates higher in Nottingham than England average

Rates of sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia and gonorrhoea are on the rise in Nottingham.

Statistics from the UK Health Security Agency show Nottingham had a rate of 279 cases of gonorrhoea per 100,000 people in 2022, significantly higher than the overall national rate of 146 per 100,000.

The Nottingham Chlamydia rate is 2,887 per 100,000, also notably higher than the England rate of 1,680 per 100,000.

There were also 53 cases of Syphilis overall in 12 months, which is similar to the England average.

The UKHSA publishes figures on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every year, using rates per 100,000 of population as a measure.

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National figures for 2022 show a 24 per cent rise in STIs compared with 2021, and there has been a 50 per cent increase in gonorrhoea since 2021.

Tracey Lamming, Nottingham City Council’s Public Health Principal, said the statistics, which were released last month, are ‘disappointing’ given efforts had been made to try to bring the rates down.

In terms of actual case numbers, the rises are being seen among Nottingham’s younger age groups. In 2022 there were 2,067 cases of Chlamydia in the city affecting young people aged 15-24 and 891 cases of Gonorrhoea.

The council organises sexual health clinics which both test and treat people for STIs.

Ms Lamming said: “With the pieces of work we’ve done we’d like to think the numbers would come down but it’s not always possible.

“We are again looking at our health promotion to try and understand more about the numbers and what we can do about it.

“With gonorrhoea, we have had rates higher than England’s average for a number of years.

“Chlamydia increased last year more than we expected.”

Ms Lamming suggested that the Nottingham rates could be “due to the age group of our citizens”.

She added: “We have a younger population and two big universities with 63,000 students. I’m not saying it’s only students by any shape or form.

“We support the university with condoms for them to give out to students and we have C Cards [giving access to free condoms when needed] for 13 – 24 year olds.”

The council also commissioned an online testing service during the Covid pandemic, which she said has been “very popular” with younger people.

This involves a kit being sent to someone’s home for completion, before results are then sent by text message.

But Ms Lamming added that a big focus is on prevention work.

She said: “There are underserved communities which our outreach teams try to get to.

“With STIs, there can be some long-term complications around infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

“We want people to have a sex life which is free from coercion, so people are not at risk of STIs and abuse.”

Lucy Hubber, director of Public Health for Nottingham, said during a health and wellbeing board meeting last week that the authority has organised extra online testing and more treatment.
She said: “Recently in the media, there has been quite a lot around the increase in STIs.
“In Nottingham, we do see it, particularly around gonorrhoea.
“We are in the process of recommissioning the sexual health service that will have a much more comprehensive patient pathway, including increased access to online testing and treatment.”

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