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Sexual Health

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. [115075]

We are taking a number of steps to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The Department has:

Developed the first ever Sexual Health and HIV Strategy, which was published in July 2001. An implementation action plan was published in June 2002.
Launched a £4 million public information campaign, the "sex lottery", in December 2002. This promotes messages around safer sex and the use of condoms in a relevant and realistic way.
Invested £5 million last year and £10 million this year to improve access to genito-urinary medicine services and reduce waiting times.
Selected 10 areas to take forward the first phase of a national chlamydia screening programme. We will be calling for bids for inclusion in the second phase of the programme shortly.
Established an independent advisory group on sexual health, which met for the first time in May. The group will provide advice to the Government and monitor progress on the implementation of the Sexual Health and HIV Strategy including any further action necessary to achieve the strategy's aims. These include reducing the transmission of HIV and STIs and reducing the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV and STIs.
These measures, together with others in our national strategy, should start to reduce new transmissions and subsequent complications and improve access to services.