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Chlamydia cases in children soar

The number of children diagnosed with chlamydia in the last five years has risen by 90%, while cases of sexually transmitted diseases in minors on the whole are also up, say government figures.

Cases of genital warts are up by a third and genital herpes up by 42% in under-16s, but the biggest increase in sexually transmitted diseases was in cases of chlamydia. The number of syphilis cases doubled from three to six.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, sent a written request for the figures to genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics and the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP).

In total, the number of sexually transmitted diseases found in under-16s soared to 3,913 in 2007, from 2,474 in 2003, a rise of 58%.

Testing for chlamydia has been taking place in colleges, community contraceptive clinics, pharmacies and through postal testing kits under the NCSP, which started in April 2003.

"The programme has helped us to screen an increasing number of people for chlamydia. Since 2008, all primary care trusts have been reporting to the programme, which accounts for the recent increase in reported cases," said a Department of Health spokesman.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Chlamydia Screening Programme

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