Teen infection almost doubled during 90s
Rates of diagnoses of uncomplicated genital chlamydia infection in females made in GUM clinics by age group, United Kingdom
Between 1991 and 2001, the number of new episodes of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) seen in Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinics in England, Wales and Northern Ireland doubled from 669,291 to 1,332,910. Young people, in particular females under the age of 20, bear the burden of sexually transmitted infections.
Genital infection with chlamydia trachomatis if untreated, is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and infertility. The diagnostic rate of genital chlamydia infection in females aged under 20 years old has increased since the mid-1990s. In 2001, the highest rates of diagnosed chlamydia seen in GUM clinics, were among 16- to 19-year-olds (1,035 per 100,000 females).
Genital warts are the most commonly diagnosed viral STI. In 2001, 29 per cent of females diagnosed with genital warts were under 20 years of age, compared with only 10 per cent of males in the same age group. Rates of diagnosis among females aged 16 to 19 years increased by more than 15 per cent during the last decade and reached 680 per 100,000 females in 2001.
Conception rates for female adolescents aged under 16, 18 and 20 years within/outside marriage, England and Wales
In 2000, the conception rate among females under 20 years was 63 per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 years. This marks a decrease in conception rates over the last decade that mirrors a general decrease among females of all ages. The exception however has been among females aged 13 to 15 years. Rates of conceptions in this group have remained consistent at between 8 to 10 per 1,000 females from 1990 to 2000.
The proportion of conceptions terminated by abortion among under 20-year-olds increased slightly from 36 per cent in 1990 to 39 per cent in 2000. Over half (51 per cent) of all conceptions among under 16-year-olds resulted in a termination in 1990 and this increased slightly to 54 per cent in 2000. Legal abortion rates were highest in London and the West Midlands in 2000 and 2001.
The sexual health of adolescents in the UK is poor. It is likely that an increase in risky sexual behaviour has contributed to sexual health outcomes such as STIs and unwanted pregnancy among young people.
Sources: Public Health Laboratory Service (now known as the Health Protection Agency) ONS (2002) Birth Statistics, Series FM1 30 (Revised), TSO: London ONS (2000) Abortion Statistics, Series AB 28, TSO: London ONS (2001) Abortion Statistics, Series AB 28, TSO: London
2000 and 2001 does not include data from Scotland as data is currently unavailable for 2000, 2001 from Scotland