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Syphilis rates soaring in Scotland

The number of recorded sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Scotland has soared, figures reveal, with syphilis rates higher than they have been for 50 years.

The figures show that the amount of people with the disease jumped by more than 30% since last year, giving 2006 the highest annual total since 1952.

And 95% of the diagnoses of syphilis were in men, with most cases being among those who have sex with other men, the Scottish government figures showed.

Cases of chlamydia also rose by nearly 5% last year - with up to three quarters of these cases affecting people under the age of 25.

On a positive note however, experts said diagnoses of Aids are continuing to fall, after effective treatments for the condition were introduced in 1996. Only 41 people in the country were diagnosed with the condition in 2006.

But government officials warned that men are more likely to test positive for an STI, despite campaigns to raise awareness about infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, of which there were 900 new cases last year.

The experts said: "There are specific conditions which are a problem for men who have sex with men, and these include syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV.

"Young people remain particularly affected by the major acute STIs and should continue to be targeted for testing and prevention."

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Scottish government

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