Whilst teenage conception rates have declined due to a range of interventions, most notably access to contraception services, rising rates of sexually transmitted infections in the under 25s are a major public health concern in the UK.
Young people under the age of 25 experience the highest rates of STIs although concern is also expressed about the rising rates in adults. Of those diagnosed in GUM clinics in England in 2010, 63% with chlamydia, 54% with genital warts, 47% with gonorrhoea, and 41% with genital herpes were under 25 years. Among women in 2010, rates of diagnosis of chlamydia, genital warts and gonorrhoea peaked in those aged 19 while those of genital herpes peaked in 20 year olds. The peak in men occurred in slightly older men and was more attenuated. Rates of chlamydia and genital warts peaked in those aged 21, while those of gonorrhoea and genital herpes peaked in those aged 22 and 23 years respectively.
Although overall numbers of diagnoses in those under 25 have risen considerably in the last 10 years, there has been a notable decline in some STIs in younger adults in recent years: between 2008 and 2010 diagnoses of genital warts cases in women and men aged 15-19 fell by 13% and 8% respectively while those of gonorrhoea fell by 13% and 14% respectively .
299. Santelli, J. S., Lindberg, L. D., Finer, L. B. & Singh, S. (2007). Explaining recent declines in adolescent pregnancy in the United States: the contribution of abstinence and improved contraceptive use. American Journal of Public Health, 97(1), 150-156.
300. Public Health England Sexual Health Profiles and Index, http://www.hpa.org.uk/sexualhealthprofiles