SOUTH YORKSHIRE: Unsafe sex warning despite fall in number of STI cases

Dr Leena Inamdar, specialist in sexually-transmitted infections for the Health Protection Agency in Yorkshire

Dr Leena Inamdar, specialist in sexually-transmitted infections for the Health Protection Agency in Yorkshire

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TOO many people in South Yorkshire are still putting themselves at risk by having unsafe sex, health experts have warned - despite figures showing falling rates of sexually transmitted infections.

The number of acute new STIs reported in South Yorkshire dropped by 10 per cent last year - bucking the trend of a two per cent increase nationwide.

In Sheffield there were 4,350 cases of infections reported in 2011, down from 4,709 in 2010 - a drop of 8.25 per cent.

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire the decrease was even more marked - down 13.59 per cent in Rotherham, 12.83 per cent in Doncaster and 8.96 per cent in Barnsley.

Overall the number of acute STIs reported to the Health Protection Agency across South Yorkshire dropped from 11,654 to 10,550.

The figures include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, syphilis and genital warts.

Experts said work to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases is working - but warned too many people are still not using condoms.

And they are most concerned about the spread of gonorrhoea, which rose sharply in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley, but fell slightly in Doncaster.

Dr Leena Inamdar, STI specialist for the Health Protection Agency in Yorkshire, said: “The data shows too many people are still putting themselves at risk of STIs and serious health problems by having unprotected sex.

“The sharp and continuing rise in gonorrhoea diagnoses is of particular concern due to emerging resistance to gonorrhoea treatment.

“Laboratory testing over the last five years has shown a large reduction in the sensitivity of the main drugs used to treat gonorrhoea, presenting the very real danger of untreatable gonorrhoea in the future”