Massive Surge in STIs Among Young Women: HSPC Report

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New findings show a considerable increase in STIs among young women in Ireland last year.

The number of STIs recorded in Ireland last year increased by over one-third (31%) in 2022, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s annual report.

Dr. Aisling Loy, a sexual health consultant, said the numbers came as no surprise. “We see them live on a weekly basis,” she explained. “The HPSC does a weekly report, so whenever we get the final year report in March the following year, we kind of know what’s coming.”It’s similar to when we get the COVID data on a daily basis: we know what’s going to come out in the report.

“So, it’s not surprising and we definitely feel the increase in the clinics.” Regarding fertility concerns, Dr. Loy stated that the majority of people who test positive for STIs are men, with a particularly high prevalence among the GBMSM (gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men) population.

However, an increasing number of young women are being diagnosed with infections.
“The biggest rise we see are in young women – so, the 15 to 24 age group of young women,” stated Dr. Loy. “In particular, gonorrhoea is up about 150% in that group.”

Dr. Loy stated that this is especially problematic because a STI can cause a woman to develop long-term health problems if not treated.

“It can give them infertility issues later on – pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain,” she went on to say. “So, when we see something like that happen inexplicably, we get a bit worried.”

Dr. Loy believes the increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is due to a lack of condom use, which is exacerbated by pornography.

“People are getting their sex education from pornography – which seems to be what is happening now with young people having 24/7 access to pornography in their pockets on their phones,” she went on to say. “Pornography is where young people learn about sex, and condoms are typically not used, making it normal for them.”

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