Hackney faced the highest herpes infection rate in London in 2012, with approximately 420 people diagnosed, according to a recent Public Health England report.
The report provided insight into the occurrence of different sexually transmitted infections (STI) in each borough of the capital from 2009 to 2012.
Additionally the Public Health England (PHE) figures rated Hackney as second highest borough in London in terms of infection rates taking into account all reported cases of STIs.
With 9,773 cases of acute STI diagnoses in 2012 Lambeth was listed as the highest compared to 5,855 cases in Hackney.
Sarah Creigton, Genito-urinary medicine (GUM) consultant in Homerton University Hospital, Hackney, said : « We can explain these high rates by the fact that sexually transmitted infections tend to cluster within sexual networks. If most of your sexual partners do have an STI, the same level of unprotected sex will lead to onward transmission and higher STI levels than if most of your sexual partners don’t.»
« STI also cluster in areas of deprivation and Hackney has as well a young population, which is more likely to take sexual risks », she added.
The borough was also listed as the third highest borough in London in terms of Gonorrhoea infection rates, with more than 700 cases diagnosed in 2012.
Once again, the figures rated Lambeth as the first with almost 1300 cases diagnosed, while Southwark had 850.
Creighton explained : « These data relate to diagnosed infections and as most STI are asymptomatic, only the persons who come to a ‘check up’ can be diagnosed as having an infection. »
« For this reason, in Hackney, we have put lots of efforts into diagnosing undiagnosed infections, getting people to come for checkups, making our clinics accessible and being able to have checkups not only in sexual health clinics, So we feel that the high diagnosis rates partly reflect these efforts », she added.
The statistics confirmed that Hackney, Lewisham, Croydon and Tower Hamlets, have all shown an increase in the number of diagnoses made of STDs from 2011 to 2012.
The most alarming statistics from the report once again came from Hackney with the number of Gonorrhea cases having almost doubled from 441 in 2011 to 721 in 2012. Making the borough the third highest for Gonorrhea infection rates.
Tower Hamlets and Hackney were in fact among the worst boroughs for almost every STI according to a Health Protection Agency report.
Lewisham however did not fare as badly.
The Health Protection Agency data also listed London as having the highest incidence rate for Gonorrhea in the country.
Today, the general infection rate in London is 74 per cent higher than any other region in the UK and the capital has 12 of the 20 worst boroughs in England.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at Public Health England, said, “There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.”
The data indicates that too many people are continuing to have unprotected sex and may put themselves at risk of catching STIs and the serious consequences associated with infection, including infertility.