Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the UK are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially considering they make up just one in eight of the population, new figures show.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported a six per cent increase in the total number of new STI diagnoses in 2007 compared to 2006.
The 16-24 age group accounts for around half of all newly-diagnosed STIs, including 65 per cent of chlamydia, 55 per cent of genital warts and 50 per cent of gonorrhoea.
Professor Peter Borriello, director of the agency's Centre for Infections, said that an increase in the number of people being tested for STIs has enabled a better insight into the sexual health
of the nation.
'It is crucial that young people continue to be exposed to messages about safe sex, including condom wearing, and the importance of getting checked out at their nearest GUM clinic if they have had unprotected sex with a new partner,' he advised.
Lisa Power, corporate head of policy at the Terence Higgins Trust (THT), commented: "The Health Protection Agency has confirmed something we've known for a while - that young people still aren't getting the education and the services they need to manage their health and relationships.
'THT is taking testing out to pubs and youth groups and making it easier for young people who are sexually active to get tested and treated," she added.