Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers in England and Wales

Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1997 Nov 14;7(12):R173-8.


A profile of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV infections among teenagers in England and Wales was obtained from reports of newly diagnosed STDs among teenagers attending genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in 1995, laboratory reports of newly diagnosed HIV infections between 1985 when reporting began and the end of 1995, and the prevalence of HIV (unlinked anonymous programme) among teenagers attending genitourinary medicine clinics and antenatal clinics in 1994 and 1995. STD reports were analysed by sex, age group, and place of residence of patients--whether in the NHS Thames regions or elsewhere in England and Wales. High rates of STDs were reported in teenagers, particularly in girls. The incidences of gonorrhoea, chlamydia infection, and first attack genital wart infections were higher in teenage girls than in any other age group. Boys under 16 years of age had substantially higher rates of infection with all STDs in the Thames regions than elsewhere. Rates of gonorrhoea in teenagers of both sexes in the Thames regions were more than twice those in the rest of the country. Infection rates for genital herpes, and chlamydia in girls, were also higher in the Thames regions, although the geographical differences were less marked. The seroprevalence of HIV among heterosexual teenagers was very low. In contrast, 226 HIV infections among teenage boys had probably been acquired through sexual intercourse with other males. Unlinked anonymous testing revealed HIV antibody in 7.5% of routinely collected serology specimens taken from teenage homosexual or bisexual males attending GUM clinics in London. The high rates of STDs among teenage girls and all teenagers in the Thames regions make these groups a high priority for sexual health promotion, with special consideration given to homo/bisexual male teenagers. Detailed surveillance of risk factors for STDs, and further studies of teenage sexual behaviour will help to effectively target resources to improve the sexual health of teenagers in England and Wales.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Wales / epidemiology