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Sexually transmitted diseases on the increase

Unprotected sex is causing rises in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) particularly among young women, according to figures published today.

Almost half a million (482,696) new STI cases were diagnosed in the UK last year, up almost 12,000 on 2008.

Two-thirds of new STI cases in women were among under-25s, including 73 per cent of new cases of gonorrhea in women and 66 per cent of cases of genital warts. Some 88 per cent of new cases of chlamydia in women were found in the same age group.

Chlamydia cases among both sexes increased by 7 per cent across all age groups between 2008 and 2009, while cases of gonorrhea rose 6 per cent.

Genital herpes cases were up by 5 per cent while genital warts cases stabilised with a 0.3 per cent drop. Syphilis cases fell by 1 per cent.

For the first time, the Health Protection Agency has released figures on which cities and regions have the highest rates of STIs. London features heavily, with Hackney coming top for the number of new cases of STIs.

Outside of London, Brighton and Hove come 10th in the table, followed by Nottingham in 12th place and Manchester in 13th. Blackpool is 14th, followed by Birmingham in 16th.