Sexual health charity visits Wimbledon Library to tackle 20% rise in syphilis in one year

A lack of education on prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections is said to have made London the city with the highest rate of STIs in the UK.

Spectra, a community-based charity that aims to combat sexual health taboos found among communities, has been at Wimbledon Library trying to reach people who may feel uncomfortable visiting health clinics.

It has been offering free HIV testing and one-to-one sessions on sexual health, after Public Health England revealed a 10-year rise in syphilis diagnoses.

In a report published this year it said there was a 20% increase in syphilis, from 5,955 cases in 2016 to 7,137 cases in 2017.

Sexual health tester and advisor Paris Brown, 47, noted syphilis was higher among over 50s while chlamydia was higher among 14 to 24-year-olds.

But she said there were solutions to preventing this growing epidemic, as there were still ways to live a fulfilled life despite the possibility of contracting an STI.

Ms Brown aims to educate the masses by spreading the message: “As a community we need to come together and not let STIs define who you are or have a debilitating effect on your life.”

She said the rate of STIs was increasing in the heterosexual community, mainly due to the lack of responsibility and misinformation regarding sexual health.

Public Health England reported in 2015 that more than 400,000 new diagnoses of STI were made in the UK and London was responsible for more than a quarter of these cases.

To learn more about services Spectra offers and information on STIs visit here.

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