Aids Weekly Plus
UTV reported that Northern Ireland recently kicked off Sexual Health Week, which promoted the theme “Love is….” Northern Ireland’s Department of Health hopes the new campaign will help reverse the trend of rising STD rates. Gonorrhea diagnoses more than doubled to a record high in a two-year span, from 200 cases in 2010 to 451 cases in 2012. HIV cases increased from 81 in 2011 to 95 in 2012, a 17-percent increase in one year. Syphilis also is on the increase, although the health department did not provide statistics.
Northern Ireland’s most recent campaign, Sexual Health Promotion Strategy, was a five-year initiative that began in 2008. The program succeeded in bringing the teen birth rate to its lowest recorded level. Additionally, a recent school-based survey showed that 92 percent of teens ages 11 to 16 reported they were not yet having sexual intercourse.
The new campaign hopes to continue these positive impacts in addition to focusing on reducing STDs. "Action to prevent and treat sexual ill health includes outreach interventions for those most at risk, the opening of clinics in education settings, initiatives in primary care with [general practitioners] and community pharmacists, and measures to improve access to sexual health services. However, there is much still to do,” said Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland’s health minister.