High levels of sexually transmitted infections in SHB area.

The largest increase in notifications for sexually transmitted infections from the last quarter of 2002 to the last quarter of 2001 was in the Southern Health Board area. The Cork Kerry region is listed in the top three health boards in the country for people receiving treatment for sexually transmitted infections. The data is compiled by the National Disease Surveillance Centre for 2002 and shows that over 1600 notifications were received by the Southern Health Board.Notifications increased by 64% in the region from the last quarter of 2001 to the last quarter of 2002. However it is noted that the pattern of health boards as listed in the report may also be linked to the lack of clinics in some areas. Doctors are warning that the increase around the country is leading to pressure on the larger treatment clinics, one of which is in Cork. Public health specialist dr Mary Cronin says the rise is probably due to an increase in unsafe sexual behaviour.The report also shows there were more notifications of infections in women around the country than in men. Other reasons given for the 8% increase in infections is the greater acceptability of treatment clinics. However it remains that sexually transmitted infections have been steadily increasing since 1994.