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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
case.notes@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 13 January
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 13 January 2004
Condoms

Sexual Health

Britain is in the grip of an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections. The number of cases of gonorrhoea has doubled in the last 5 years – the number of confirmed syphilis cases has risen tenfold! But Chlamydia remains the most worrying infection.

Chlamydia
Three times as many people sought treatment for Chlamydia last year than in 1996. As many as 1 in 10 men and women under 25 now carry the infection, which is a major cause of female infertility.

Most will have no symptoms and remain unaware they, or their partners, have a problem.

Chlamydia can be detected using a urine test and most cases can be cured with just a one-off dose of antibiotic. Is it time we had a routine national screening programme?

HPV
Over half of all sexually active women are infected with the human papilloma virus – the virus responsible for genital warts and the principal cause of cancer of the cervix. Most women won’t develop warts but that won’t stop them getting cancer.

Could a new vaccine against HPV be the first vaccine to protect against cancer? And if we can conquer HPV will we still need routine smear tests and the national cervical cancer screening programme?

Viagra
Levitra and Cialis are two new versions of Viagra but how do they stack up against the original? Supplies of all treatments for impotence remain severely restricted on the NHS and most men have to pay for them.

The anticipated rush following the launch of Viagra never arrived. Is it time now to relax the rules? And should drug companies be lowering the prices – up to £6 a dose is extortionate for any medicine, let alone one that sells in the volume that Viagra does?

Morning-After Pill
The latest version of the morning-after pill, Levonelle, is more effective and better tolerated than its predecessor and is available without prescription. But what impact has this had on unplanned pregnancies in teenagers (the UK has the highest rate in Europe)? And has it encouraged the growth of sexually transmitted diseases?

Dr Mark Porter investigates the leading issues in sexual health today in Case Notes – BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday at 9pm and Wednesday at 4:30.
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