more on sexual health in south east london

sti 2001 to 2006I saw that the Health Protection Agency have released new figures about sexually transmitted diseases so thought I’d take a look at the data for South East London.

I’m not a statistician, and I’m very aware that I could be reading the results wrongly, but from what I could see it looks like there have been falls in across the board. This isn’t because fewer people are being seen, in fact if I read the table right there were some 6,000 more people seen by GUM clinics in our area than was the case in 2001.

Nationally the picture doesn’t look so good:

  • Chlamydia increased by 5%.
  • Syphilis increased by 23%.
  • Genital warts increased by 1%.
  • Genital herpes increased by 4%.
  • Gonorrhoea decreased by 13%.
  • So if I’m right then South East London is (for once) bucking the trend. Nevertheless, Professor Borriello’s exhortation is clearly right:

    “Today’s figures serve as a reminder for people to take responsibility for their own sexual health and that of their partners, and to use a condom with new and casual partners. Quick diagnosis is essential, so anyone who thinks they may have put themselves at risk of contracting an STI or has developed symptoms should seek advice from their GP or go to a GUM clinic as soon as possible.”

    Here is a website that appears to have all the GUM clinics in the country.

    UpdateThis report from last year gives me some hope that I’m right about the falling rates in South East London:

    Over time, South East London SHA has generally had the highest rate of gonorrhoea diagnoses in GUM clinics, but in recent years it has also had one of the largest decreases in rates of diagnosis from 144/100 000 in 2003 to 115/100 000 in 2004 (-20%)…

    The rate of syphilis diagnoses in London during 2004 (11/100 000) was the highest in England, due to an ongoing outbreak in the capital. Rates of infection across London SHAs have increased dramatically since 2000, and between 2003 and 2004, rose in all London SHAs except South East London.

    About Andrew Brown

    I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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    1 Response to more on sexual health in south east london

    1. simon says:


      Good to see you writing about the issues I care most passionately about – sexual health. I am Chief Exec of Brook, the national sexual health charity for young people ( Some progress has been made in recent years in some areas, but we have a huge way to go nationally to really reverse the trend of rising STIs.

      At Brook ( we see 200,000 young people per year across London and many other parts of the UK and Jersey , and there are a few key issues here;

      Many young people do not know that the contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections and so need to learn about the need to use condoms as protection against STIs alongside another form of contraception that protects against pregnancy.

      Young people tell us they need to know they can trust the services they are being encouraged to access and this means they have to be friendly, confidential places with staff who like young people.

      Many (young) people do not trust services, or feel confident accessing them and we need to take services to places where they are, providing them with services in spaces they use and at the same time encouraging and supporting them to use mainstream services.

      I was with young people in the North East yesterday. They have lots of ideas to help us get it right. The most striking thing for these 15 and 16 year olds told me was, ‘just make sure we know where to go so we can advice because if we dont know where to go, there isn’t anyway we can protect ourselves’.

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