UK sex infections at 'record high'

New figures show that around half a million people, mostly the youth, have contracted sexually transmitted infections (STI) over the past year in Britain.

According to the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA), the most affected people were between 15 and 24 years old, British media published on Wednesday.

The latest HPA data on STI distribution in 2009 reveals that women were at a greater risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases.

The 482,696 new cases recorded in 2009 represent a three-percent rise since 2008, continuing an upward trend for the past decade.

Meanwhile, Chlamydia diagnoses increased by seven percent, from 203,773 in 2008 to 217,570 in 2009, while gonorrhea rose by six percent, from 16,451 cases in 2008 to 17,385 in 2009.

"These latest figures show that poor sexual health is a serious problem among the UK's young adults and men who have sex with men," AFP quoted Gwenda Hughes, head of the HPA's STI section as saying.

She also explained that re-infection was also "a worrying issue", with around one in ten 15- to 24-year-olds diagnosed with an STI likely to become re-infected within a year.

"The numbers (of re-infections) we're seeing in teenagers are of particular concern as this suggests teenagers are repeatedly putting their own, as well as others, long-term health at risk from STIs," Dr. Hughes pointed out.

Young adults under 25 had the highest rate of infections, particularly in large cities like London, and also those who engaged in homosexual sex.

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