Scotland's worsening sexual health problems
The number of Scots treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs – formerly sexually transmitted diseases) has doubled in a decade, figures released in July revealed.
In 2006, almost 21,500 people were treated at sexual health clinics in Scotland - up from just over 10,900 in 1996.
The statistics also show a growing number of children are being treated for STIs. In 1996, 28 under-15s were treated for diseases such as chlamydia. But last year this had risen to 63.
Writing in Frost’s Scottish Anatomy Lyndsay Moss states:
The true incidence of STIs in Scotland is likely to be even higher, as the latest figures dealt only with those treated at genitourinary medicine clinics and not patients seen by GPs. Experts said more had to be done to educate children and adults about sexual health.
The figures came as officials outlined standards for the NHS to improve the quality of sexual health services. NHS Quality Improvement Scotland said people with sexual health issues should be seen within two days. And the standards said testing for chlamydia should be increased among those aged 16-24.
The figures revealed that chlamydia was the most common STI in Scotland, with 8,832 cases - almost five times the figure of 1,770 seen in 1996.
Gonorrhoea diagnoses also doubled from 448 to 896.
The largest number of cases was in the 20 to 24 age group, with 9,100 STIs diagnosed last year. This was followed by almost 7,500 in the 25-34 group and 5,200 in the 15-19 age bracket.
But cases in over-65s are also increasing - from 21 in 1996 to 71 last year.
The report also shows that there has been a huge increase in syphilis in Scotland and cases of the disease, once thought to have practically disappeared, rocketed by nearly 1,100% between 1996 and 2007, from 21 in 1996 to 246 last year - almost a 12-fold increase.
Experts believe the increase in syphilis cases is mainly due to gay men incorrectly assuming that certain sexual practices were safe. And a spokesperson for the sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland has been quoted as saying: “There is certainly a case for educating gay and bisexual men as to what the dangers are and how it is transmitted.”
On behalf of NHS Highland, Lorraine Mann takes a rather more relaxed view, attributing the rise in the figures to an increase in the incidence of people being tested.
Ms. Mann stated: “Although it is difficult to analyse these figures it does appear that more people are coming forward for testing for sexually transmitted diseases. This means infections can be treated and we can stop them spreading. We are worried about the re-emergence of syphilis. Although there are fewer than 10 cases in Highland this is a serious infection which can even be fatal and we would strongly urge people to practice safer sex and protect themselves from it.”
Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive stated: "Poor sexual health is a major public health issue. NHS Boards have been asked to address the increasing levels of STIs as part of the implementation of Respect and Responsibility, Scotland's sexual health strategy and action plan."
Tim Street, director of the Family Planning Association Scotland, said the figures were "not surprising". He also said the falling age at which children started having sex made it inevitable that STIs would increase in young age groups.
Meanwhile Mary Scanlon MSP who is the Conservative's health spokeswoman in Scotland was reported earlier this year as saying:
“The drastic increases in recent years ring alarm bells for anyone indulging in unprotected sex. I would hope that the government will respond by taking some action to alleviate the scourge of these diseases.”
Footnote: Health boards in Scotland are working under a policy document published in 2005 and entitled Respect and Responsibility; a Strategy and Action Plan for Improving Sexual Health.
A strategy devoid of clear moral guidance
Whilst there is much to commend in the Scottish Government's Respect and Responsibility strategy in terms of affirming traditional values and sexual abstinence as a valid option, there is still a huge void in terms of accepting a clear moral framework for a healthy society.
The document strongly encourages "an acceptance of the diversity of beliefs, values and moralities to be found across Scotland". But if by advocating an 'acceptance' this means that there is no political will to address the catastrophic breakdown in marriage, family life and decent sexual behaviour, then this is a mandate for moral anarchy.
We are failing our Scottish children, young people and those in homosexual lifestyles.
For as long as there is continuing refusal to accept that morality must be the key component in the recipe for a healthy population, then the best efforts of health and related agencies will continue to fail the people of Scotland.
One of the most loving a caring courses of action regarding both heterosexuals and homosexuals is to point out the fundamental cause of these escalating problems is rooted in promiscuity and in a departure from a lifestyle patterned around marriage and fidelity in the context of heterosexual sexual relationships. Evidence of this is found in reports which confirm that the life expectancy for gay men is 20 years shorter than that of the general public.
Yet 'Diversity' training which is now prevalent in public agencies, statutory bodies and the commercial world is tantamount to brainwashing and coercing employees who hold to a traditional morality.
Meanwhile it has been recommended that schoolchildren from the earliest of ages be given compulsory sex education with no clear moral framework. They are consequently being robbed of their childhood innocence and having their minds shaped by an ammoral agenda. This can only lead to confusion regarding gender identity and right-ordered relationships, and could produce a catastrophic future regarding healthy sexual development and stable and faithful relationships.
We are all made equal, but that does not mean that one lifestyle and value system is as good as the next.
Prayer (and action)
Pray that the policy makers and politicians in our nation will come to realise that 'rights' without (moral) rules and responsibilities is a recipe for a society which will collapse from within.
And if you want to e-mail your local councillor, MSP, MP or peer to express your views, it is very simple to find out all those who represent you and send an e-mail to them. Just <click here>.
If you you wish to include a link to this page copy and paste the following into your e-mail message - http://tinyurl.com/6mnwcr
For those struggling with sexual orientation issues the True Freedom Trust is a valuable source of help.
For unplanned pregnancies read of how others have coped with this situation.
See also The Battle for Our Teens
Christians Together, 31/07/2008