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PHE launches sexual health campaign amid worrying STI trends

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a campaign targeted at people aged between 16 and 24 years old, to raise awareness on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

‘Protect against STIs’, which is the first sexual health campaign the Government has launched in the past eight years, encourages young people to use condoms. It aims to make them aware of the conditions STIs can cause – which include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), swollen or painful testicles or meningitis.

In 2016, more than 141,000 people were diagnosed with either chlamydia or gonorrhoea. The latter is becoming more resistant to antibiotics and could be difficult to treat in the future, said the PHE.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that urgent investment in sexual health services at the community level is needed to ease patient access to contraceptives and sexual health services.

She said: ‘Our report, Time to Act, found that fragmented commissioning practices mean that GPs are increasingly unable to direct patients to the most appropriate sexual health services for their needs, and GPs are not being given adequate training to administer all different types of contraception that might benefit patients.

‘In this day and age all patients have the right to be provided with sufficient information to make the choice of contraception that is right for them […] and GPs and our teams have the right to be properly trained and receive adequate recompense for carrying out these services.

PHE had already raised concerns over the provision of sexual health services earlier this year, and said that the fragmentation of commissioning should be reduced and monitored.

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