HL Deb 14 March 2005 vol 670 c120WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What effect the various methods so far employed in the United Kingdom to reduce sexually transmitted diseases have had; how the Government measure their impact, if any; and whether the increase in known cases indicates that the situation is out of control. [HL1477]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner)

Addressing the rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is at the heart of the Government's work on sexual health, boosted recently by an additional investment of £300 million over the next three years. The public health White Paper,Choosing Health, announced a new high profile media campaign, acceleration of the roll-out of the chlamydia screening programme across England by March 2007, a review of contraceptive and genitourinary medicine (GUM) services and investment to modernise and improve access, including a new maximum waiting time of 48 hours for GUM clinics by 2008.

To further strengthen delivery at local level, sexual health is being included in primary care trusts' local delivery plans for the first time. In addition there are recommended standards and good practice documents published by the Department of Health.

The Health Protection Agency collects data on waiting times for sexual health clinics, and ongoing surveillance data on STIs and HIV (published at www.hpa.org.uk). Data for 2003 show that the rate of increase for many STIs has slowed or decreased, for example gonorrhoea decreased by 4 per cent. Teenage conceptions have also decreased by 9.8 per cent since 1998.

Separate sexual health strategies are in place, or in development for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.