blamed as 10,000 diagnosed with STIs last year
by Mary Regan
than 10,000 Irish people were diagnosed with some
form of sexually transmitted infection (STI) last
year, with excessive alcohol consumption being blamed
for the unprecedented rise in infection rates.
new report by the Women's Health Council (WHC) identifies
the need for a national screening programme for
chlamydia, the second most common STI with which
3,000 Irish people were infected last year.
disease, which leads to infertility in about 10%
of cases, now affects almost 11 times more people
than it did 10 years ago.
WHC report, due to be published today, also expresses
concern about ano-genital warts, with 2,899 cases
detected last year, the highest ever on record.
said alcohol is one of the biggest contributing
factors to unsafe sex, with almost half of men (45%)
and a quarter of women (26%), admitting that drinking
alcohol had contributed to them having sex without
report said: "The role that alcohol plays in
risky sexual behaviour needs to be considered due
to high consumption level and binge-drinking pattern."
points to a recent EU report which shows that Ireland
has the highest percentage of binge drinkers in
Europe. It said: "It is vital that sexual health
promotion campaigns highlight the risks involved
in over-consumption and binge-drinking.
initiatives in this area must continue and improve
in order to ensure that Irish teenagers and adults
consume alcohol in a responsible manner, which will
not have negative repercussions - not only from
a sexual health perspective but also for their long-term
physical and mental health."
report said that while the rise in STIs has caused
some concern, "it has not triggered the necessary
policy and service initiatives required to combat
said the issue of crisis pregnancy has overshadowed
sexual health promotion in general, something it
attributed to the "national discourse linked
with Ireland's restrictive abortion laws."
report said that, because of this, Irish people
are more likely to use the pill as their chosen
form of contraceptive, rather than condoms, which
can protect against STIs.
report, entitled Women and Sexually Transmitted
Infections, a Gendered Analysis, says women are
more vulnerable to STIs because of their biological
make-up, and cultural factors such as the burden
of responsibility for contraception. Women are also
more likely to suffer greater health repercussions
as a result of STIs than men.
National Women's Council, meanwhile, has called
for a health strategy for women. It said Irish women
suffer a range of health inequalities and have the
secon highest cancer mortality rate in Europe.