A new report by the United Kingdom's House of Commons Health Select Committee shows that the nation is facing a sexual health crisis, with new HIV infections rising 32% in 2002 and other sexually transmitted disease rates rising fourfold or more, Reuters Health reports. HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea all have soared during the past six years, the report states, with syphilis infection rates having risen 486% since 1997. Many of the new STD infections are occurring among gay and bisexual men. According to the committee's report, "long-term underfunding" has left the country's STD clinics unable to meet the demand created by the rising infection rates.
"We heard that sexual health services are not meeting the needs of young people, and they are being failed by an education system which persistently delivers too little, too late," the committee said. Committee chair David Hinchliffe said the nation must improve HIV and STD education and prevention efforts, particularly those aimed at youth and gay men, "if we are going to prevent an even worse situation being passed on to the next generation of young people." The committee also recommended providing more than $50 million in additional government funds to sexual health clinics throughout the United Kingdom.