Belfast Telegraph (05.03.12) - Thursday, May 03, 2012
More than 2,500 people in the north west border region were
treated for STIs in a recent 18-month period, with new clinics
seeing increasing caseloads in Londonderry, Donegal, and
Tyrone. The increases were a major topic at a recent sexual
health conference in Omagh.
European funding helped establish new genitourinary clinics in
Altnagelvin, Tyrone, and Letterkenny hospitals. Outreach
clinics also were opened at North West Regional College and
the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
Clinics opened in Derry in October 2010 and November 2010 in
Omagh. To date, 2,343 patients have been treated in these
clinics, and more than 200 have been treated in Letterkenny
General Hospital since its clinic opened six months ago.
"In Northern Ireland as in other parts of the UK, we are
seeing increasing numbers of [STIs]," said Dr. Michael
McBride, Northern Ireland's chief medical officer.
"One of the main challenges we face is attitudes to sexual
behavior," McBride said. "Sexual health is a controversial
subject in Northern Ireland. Many people have deeply held
opinions about the best approaches; others are simply too
embarrassed to discuss it openly. This must change. We cannot
ignore the rising rates of [STIs] - it's a major public health