Genitourinary medicine (GUM)

Acute sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) can cause long-term damage to general health and fertility if left untreated, and may spread quickly through the community. Many STIs may be asymptomatic in the shorter term, which complicates their detection and management. Prompt access to diagnosis and treatment for STIs is a fundamental priority for improving sexual health in the population.

Although diagnoses of gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital warts and genital herpes have increased considerably it must be noted there is more STI testing in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics and through the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) and routine use of more sensitive diagnostic tests.

Key findings for Lancashire-14

Where rates are given these are per 100,000 of the population (all ages) and are for 2016.

  • Lancashire-12 has a significantly lower STI diagnosis rate (668), compared to England (750).
  • Preston (1,254), Lancaster (835) and Burnley (821) all have significantly higher rates of diagnosis compared to England, as do the two unitary authorities of Blackpool (1,068) and Blackburn with Darwen (957).
  • There are significantly higher rates of genital herpes diagnoses in Blackpool (125.4), Preston (82.8), Fylde (80.2) and Wyre (79.3), when compared to England (57.2). 
  • Preston (174.1) and Blackpool (159.8) both have significantly higher rates of genital wart diagnoses compared to England (112.5). 
  • Blackpool (83.8) has a significantly higher rate of gonorrhoea diagnosis compared to England (64.9).

Further analysis of the STI test rates, excluding chlamydia tests in the targeted age group (under-25s) by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP), shows that Blackpool is the only local authority within Lancashire-14 not to have recorded a 2016 rate significantly below the national rate. Six of the 14 districts have a significantly higher proportion of patients testing positive than the England average. This suggests that while sexual health services across Lancashire-14 may not be testing as many people as the national average, they are tending to identify more cases than services elsewhere in England and as such are potentially treating more people. Please see the chlamydia screening page for further information around this infection.

Public Health England has developed the Sexual and Reproductive Health Profiles, which provide a wealth of data around a number of sexual health indicators; STI rates and the wider influences on sexual health are also included.

In 2015 the county council produced a sexual health needs assessment (SHNA) which included detailed analysis of STIs. Key points identified include reducing the duration of infections, preventing further transmission of infections and limiting the potential development of complications arising from untreated infections.

Further analysis and data

GUM and sexual health in L-14 (XLSX 2.3 MB)

Page updated October 2017

Sexual health