England continues to experience worrying levels of poor sexual health.
Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies remain high. Following a decade of steady annual increases in the number of infections, there was a slight decrease (1%) in the number of diagnosed STIs between 2009 & 2010. Unfortunately 2011 saw an overall increase of 2% in the number of infections diagnosed.
In 2012, Brighton & Hove had the highest rate of common sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes and warts) outside of London. Attendances at the main genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic in Brighton & Hove remain very high, at approximately 24,000 in 2012/13, and are increasing year on year.
There are variations in the trends of specific infections and higher rates of infections in some population groups: younger people and men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by poor sexual health. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI and the number of diagnoses is increasing, especially in those under 25. As chlamydia often has no symptoms and can have serious health consequences (pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility) a national opportunistic screening programme has been established.
In March 2008 the national target of offering everyone an appointment to be seen within 48 hours of contacting the service was achieved locally and has been maintained to date.
Brighton & Hove had a higher rate of terminations of pregnancy (18.5 per 1,000 women aged 15 - 44 years) in 2011 than England (17.6) and these rates remain unchanged from the previous year. The proportion of terminations carried out early (at less than 10 weeks gestation) in 2010 was 85% in Brighton & Hove compared with 76.5% for England. The local and national rates both show a slight improvement on 2009.