Sexually transmitted infections drop across England

16/06/11

STI results form

The number of sexually transmitted infections in England has fallen for the first time in 10 years, according to new figures.

New cases of conditions like Chlamydia and genital warts fell by 1% from 2009 to 2010.

Newsbeat's Jim Taylor has been to a Brook sexual health clinic in Birmingham, which is used by more than 100 people a day.

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The reception is busy, the music is turned up and there is a steady stream of young men and women coming in for appointments, advice, or just to pick up some protection.

"We've got the best range of condoms in the country," says Penny Barber, who runs this Brook centre.

There are at least 10 different types on display on the wall.

Penny is pleased to see that STI rates have dipped, even though the drop was small.

'One-off'?

She said: "I think it's brilliant news that the safer sex message is getting through.

"We're getting more tests done and a lower infection rate.

"My concern is that this won't be sustained. You've got to keep that message coming.

"This is never going to be a one-off job to encourage people to be responsible with their sexual health."

Dwayne and Rory
Image caption Dwayne and Rory have visited the Brook clinic to collect condoms

We spoke to one girl who thinks she has caught Chlamydia from her boyfriend: "I've been with him for two years.

"We got tested and when they came back clear we stopped using condoms. I will definitely be going back to them now.

"I regret trusting him and not using condoms."

Unprotected sex

Chlamydia is by far the most common STI in England and can cause infertility.

Rates remained steady in 2010 after several sharp increases.

Rory and Dwayne are outside the clinic. They've just been in to collect some condoms, even though Dwayne admits he never wears them: "I'm like a bareback king.

"Condoms don't normally come into my head," he said.

He's never been checked out for STIs: "I could have a disease at the moment."

Rory reckons he has unprotected sex at least once a month: "Condoms take away the feeling. It's better when you haven't got one on."

He does get checked out every few months: "I know loads of people who've had Chlamydia and they just get rid of it quick," he said.

"It sounds bad, they say it can make you impotent, but most of the time you can just get rid of it. It's like catching a cold."