The amount of STIs in the UK is at an all-time high with almost half a million new cases in the last year alone.

Figures show that since 2002 there has been a 135% increase in the number of new cases of Chlamydia, the majority of these are in females and young people.

Professionals at The Health Protection Agency (HPA) say that men that have sex with men (MSM) and young people are the highest risk groups, with 1 in 10 15-24 year olds affected again within a year of treatment.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, Expert of STI at the HPA said: “The 2011 data are a matter of concern regarding young heterosexuals and men who have sex with men. This data shows that too many people are putting themselves at the risk of contracting STIs and serious health problems by having unsafe sex.”

Part of the reason for the rise in STIs may be due to the improvements in testing. The increase shows that more work needs to be done to reduce STIs in the UK. To reduce the chance of you getting a STI make sure you:

  • Always wear a condom while having sex with a casual or new partner; this reduces the risk of all STIs.
  • Get tested on a regular basis if you are in a high risk group. Those of you 25 and under should be screened for chlamydia every year and when you have a new partner. MSM should have an HIV/STI screening at least every year if you are having unprotected sex with casual or new partners. If you are having unprotected sex with partners that change regularly, we recommend you having a screening every three months.
  • Having sex in a monogamous relationship. If two people are having sex with each other, there is no opportunity to bring a new STI.
  • Know your limits. Do you want to have sex? If you don’t want to have sex, that’s fine. Be comfortable saying no. You should never be forced into having sex.
  • Talk to your partner. Clear, honest communication is important so you should talk to your partner about safe sex.

If you are worried you may have an STD, then the only way to know is to test. Better2Know has clinics across the UK and can get you an appointment quickly and with fast results.

This guest post was written by Jessica Delaney – a communication student at Sheffield Hallam University.

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