Science Interviews

Interview

Sun, 28th Nov 2004

The Epidemic of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sarah Edwards

Part of the show Safe Sex, & Cervical Cancer Vaccines

Chris - There has been a huge surge in HIV recently, with 7000 new cases this year. What do you think are the reasons for this?

Sarah - There have been a lot of changes in sexual behaviour, including a decrease in the age at which people are first having sex and a longer period between people first having sex and settling down. This means that people have more time to fit in a greater number of sexual partners. A further problem is that many young people think that AIDS is easily treatable. Although there are drugs to help, some people have bad side effects and it is very difficult to remember to take the right drugs at the right time with the right food restrictions. Complacency is a big problem.

Chris - What are the other big players among STIs?

Sarah - Chlamydia is the biggest player as it has long term implications for women such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. As infection is frequently latent, people can pass it onto each other without knowing. Condoms are the best way to prevent this but we must first make condoms more fashionable and user friendly. Even those with good intentions can find that after a few drinks they end up putting condoms aside and placing themselves at risk.

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