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Scotland sees rise in acute STIs

New figures have revealed that cases of serious sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in Scotland have more than doubled in just over a decade.

Last year there were 22,906 diagnoses of acute STIs such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV - an increase of 7% on the previous year and 110% higher than 1996, when 10,919 cases were diagnosed.

Scotland's public health minister, Shona Robison, said the rising rates of STIs were "disappointing". She urged younger people to "take advantage of the testing and treatment available to protect their own sexual health".

The 2007 figures showed rising levels of syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts and HIV, although the increase are believed to be partly down to increased awareness and testing.

Four out of five new diagnoses of chlamydia in women last year were for females in the 15 to 24 age range, while 71% of cases in men involved 20 to 34-year-olds.

"It is disappointing to see rising rates of STIs, and although there are small signs of improvement in increased awareness and testing, this is not yet enough," Ms Robison said. She added that a free chlamydia testing and treatment programme would be available later this year in community pharmacies around Scotland.

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"Yes i think it would, some people find it difficult to get to their GP or GUM clinic to collect a speciman container. I feel we have to make it more accessible to people." - Alison Cant, Edinburgh