Concern over rise in Doncaster herpes cases

Dr Rupert Suckling, Assistant Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council.
Dr Rupert Suckling, Assistant Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council.

Doncaster is bucking the trend when it comes to the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

While other regions of Yorkshire and Humberside have seen marked increases in the rates of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphillis, Doncaster’s number of total new cases has decreased from 2,528 to 2,397 over the period 2010 to 2013.

However there has been a rise in certain STIs, including gonorrhea cases rising from 47 to 53, herpes from 236 to 261, syphillis from two to five, and genital warts from 440 to 464.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Doncaster’s Assistant Director of Public Health: “Looking at STI rates from the last two years to the next doesn’t show the bigger picture of changes that are happening in Doncaster.

“Over the last four years, overall STI rates have fallen in the borough. The recent changes in the number of gonorrhoea and syphillis cases are extremely small, with no evidence of longer term changes, while cases of warts have fallen each of the last three years.

“The only slightly concerning statistic is the rate of herpes, which has increased since 2013.

“However, higher figures can also be an indication that more residents are making use of local provisions and accessible advice and getting diagnosed with STIs, which actually reflects a positive service. Given this wider picture, there are encouraging signs of declining numbers of STI cases in Doncaster.”

Daisy Ellis, Acting Policy Director at HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It is concerning to see such a marked increase in rates of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis in Yorkshire and the Humber, which suggests that the safer sex message isn’t getting through to everyone.

“The current approach to school sex education is not fit for purpose, leaving many unprepared for the pressures of modern relationships. Sex and relationship education can delay sexual activity, reduce sexual partner numbers, and increase the use of contraception.”