Cases of sexually transmitted infections in Scotland have trebled in the space of just ten years, prompting critics to call for a re-think in sexual health policy.
The sharpest rise was in cases of genital chlamydia, with the number of diagnoses rocketing from 5,676 in 1999 to 18,277 in 2009.
During the same period diagnoses of genital herpes increased from 933 to 2,627, while diagnoses of gonorrhoea nearly doubled.
And between 1999 and 2010 the number of HIV-infected people more than doubled from 156 to 360.
John Deighan, parliamentary officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said: “The more we find out about the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections the more worrying the picture that emerges.
“The distorted ideas of sexual liberation which have been popular for a few decades have a terrible toll on the lives of many people.
“The release of the latest figures should make policymakers re-evaluate their approach to sexual health issues.”
However, a spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “These figures follow improvements to services, which have led to an increase in testing and, in turn, an increase in detections.
“We will shortly be publishing our new sexual health and blood borne virus framework, and one of its high level outcomes will be fewer sexually transmitted infections.”
In December an official report into the progress of Scotland’s sexual health strategy revealed that the ‘safer sex’ message was getting through but was not working.
The report said that all age ranges know about ‘prevention’ but the data showed troubling increases in sexual infections and the teenage pregnancy rate remained high.
The report warned that the high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), teenage pregnancies and abortions showed that many young people in particular were continuing to endanger their sexual health.