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Southport Reporter    Edition published on:- 09 August 2002

OVER 600,000 STI Diagnosed.

Southport Genitourinary Medicine Clinic supports National Sexual Health Week (August 5-11) - infections are on the increase Southport & Formby District General Hospital's GUM Clinic is backing Sexual Health Week's messages, and would like local people to get in touch if they have any concerns.

The fpa (formerly the Family Planning Association) is sponsoring the National awareness week, which will focus on the serious public health issue of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Over 600,000 STI diagnoses were made in GUM Clinics in the UK in 2000, an increase of 33 per cent since 1995. The fpa is calling on the Government to provide long-term investment into local GUM services to ensure speedy treatment and prevent further transmission of infections.

Almost 12,000 people will be treated for an STI at a GUM Clinic during Sexual Health Week, an average of one person every minute of the day. These figures underestimate the true prevalence of the situation, because many STIs show no symptoms and remain undiagnosed.

Dr Mike Abbott, Consultant at the Department of Genitourinary Medicine at Southport & Formby DGH, said: -"Many people do not realise they have an STI because they often have no symptoms. If infections such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia are not treated, infertility and other serious problems may result. We are concerned that we are seeing more cases of all STIs, including syphilis and HIV."

Dr Abbott added:- "I would urge people to get in touch with their GP if they are worried about STIs. Staff at Southport & Formby's GUM Clinic are also happy to answer any questions in confidence, and can offer a full range of tests. Our number is in the telephone book under 'Clinics' and Genitourinary.' We are also listed in the Thompson Local Directory under 'Helplines.'"

Toni Belfield, fpa Director of Information, added that the advice fpa is giving is simple. "Always use condoms unless you're sure neither of you has an STI. If you're unsure about using condoms, or need further information about STIs, you can also call fpa's helpline on 0845 310 1334."

The Northwest Development Agency pledges full support for Neighborhood Renewal.

The Chief Executive of the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) Mike Shields, and Keith Barnes, the Director of Government Office North West, met Joe Montgomery, Director of the Neighborhood Renewal Unit (NRU) on 2nd August.

Following the meeting Mike Shields confirmed the NWDA is focusing it’s efforts on 25 priority areas including the 21 NRU Local Authorities in the Region. The Agency is seeking to help deliver the economic underpinning which deprived communities need, in the context of comprehensive, integrated, community-based regeneration strategies.

Mike Shields said:-  “The Agency is pleased to confirm it’s strong commitment to the Neighborhood Renewal Unit and the Government Office to help tackle the problems suffered by deprived communities across our region. The NWDA will continue to give high priority to this activity.”

Article by Emma Degg.

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