Sexual infection rates doubled or trebled in some areas over past 5 years

condom in handLevels of sexually transmitted infections are soaring in London with rates of syphilis rising by 45% in Lambeth in 12 months.

Across the capital there is a marked increase in the diagnosis of a range of sexual infections particularly in young people aged 16-24 and among gay men.

Figures for the diagnosis of infections gathered from genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics by Public Health England show that while levels of infection are up across the UK it is London that is seeing a particularly steep rise.

syphilis chart

The rate of syphilis in London has more than doubled in 5 years, with the biggest increase from 2013 to 2014, the last full year of records. In some boroughs the picture is more concerning with a rise of 140% in Lambeth and a three-fold increase between 2009-14 in Southwark.

syphilis map

Rates remain below the national rate for England of 7.8 cases per 100,000 in a number of outer London boroughs. Bexley, Sutton, and Barking and Dagenham have the lowest rates of diagnosis.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that if left untreated can cause significant health problems and even death. It can be effectively treated with antibiotics and remains relatively rare. Gonorrhoea is a much more common and has also increased dramatically, rising 47% in 5 years.

Once again it is Lambeth and Southwark that have the highest levels. Rates for the City of London are high, though based upon a small population. Most central areas have a rate well in excess of the London-wide average of 190 cases per 100,000 people. Only 5 London boroughs, Sutton, Harrow, Havering, Bexley and Bromley have rates below the England average of 63 cases per 100,000.

gonorrhoea map

The rate in Southwark went up by 172% between 2009-14, while is Lambeth it rose by more than 200%. Lambeth has the highest rate of gonorrhoea in England.

Gonorrhoea is easily transmitted during sex and many people, particularly women, do not show any symptoms. It is treated with antibiotics, though there is concern about the growing resistance of the infection to some of these drugs.

Public Health England analysis shows that there is some difference in infection rates based upon ethnicity with black people having higher diagnosis rates, particularly those living in deprived urban areas.

There are also variation in the distribution of infections according to sexual orientation and gender. Men having sex with other men accounted for 81% of the cases of syphilis and 52% of the cases of gonorrhoea in England last year. Genital warts and chlamydia are nearly all in heterosexual people while 92% of the diagnoses of genital herpes are in women.

Public Health England says that rates are highest in London as the city is home to core groups of people at risk and there is greater access to clinics providing treatment.

It says the rates in gay men are particularly worrying and may be due to unsafe sex, including the decision not to use a condom by partners believed to be of the same HIV status.

Source data

See also

Some boroughs excelling at chlamydia screening for under 25s

The dating data for lovelorn Londoners

Many in caring professions negative towards LGBT people, says survey


Many in caring professions negative towards LGBT people, says survey

shadow of people-2Negative and discriminatory attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people is commonplace in the caring professions according to a survey commissioned by the LGBT rights organisation Stonewall.

Its survey among people working in health and social care found around a quarter had heard colleagues make derogatory comments about LGBT people. And far from being an enlightened modern city, London has one of the worse problems in the country.

According to Stonewall 25% of those surveyed in the capital had witnessed discrimination against colleagues because of they were gay, lesbian or bisexual. This is the highest rate in the country, and London also had the highest rate of discrimination against trans people.

Stonewall discrimination seen-2

There are likely to be more people who are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual working in health and care services in London than the rest of the country if the employee base reflects society in general. 2.6% of people in London identify themselves as gay, lesbian and bisexual compared to an average of 1.6% across the UK, according to survey data for 2014 by the Office for National Statistics.

Across the country 1 in 10 health and social care workers in patient-facing roles had heard staff express the belief that homosexuality could be “cured”. In London the rate was 1 in 5. Counseling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK, NHS England and the British Medical Association condemn so-called conversion therapy.

Stonewall cured

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 11% of staff in the NHS is from overseas. Some may come from more conservative cultures where there is less acceptance of homosexuality. It is not clear from the survey whether this has any impact upon attitudes.

The survey found that many staff did not feel able or equipped to challenge discriminatory behavior among colleagues or patients. About a quarter said that they had not received diversity training and the majority had not been given training on the specific health needs of LGBT people.

You Gov carried out the Unhealthy Attitudes survey for Stonewall and spoke to 3,000 people across England and Wales.

See also 

Time to celebrate but there’s no pride in a rise in homophobic attacks



London has nearly 40% of male civil partnerships in England


England’s 1st civil partnership. Photo: Peter Scott-Morgan ┃Wikimedia Commons

Men who have formed a civil partnership, the legal recognition of same sex relationships, are highly concentrated in London, particularly central London. Female civil partnerships are far more evenly spread across the country.

Civil partnerships were introduced 10 years ago to give some of the same rights and responsibilities to same sex couples as those enjoyed by married couples of the opposite sex.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that from 2006 to 2013 there were more than 30,000 male civil partnerships formed in England and 38% were in London. In comparison, only 16% of 25,000 female civil partnerships were in the capital as they were spread more evenly across the country.

civil parnership chart

Male civil partnerships are highly concentrated in central London boroughs, particularly Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Islington.

civil partnership male

The same boroughs also have the highest level of female civil partnerships, but there is a slightly more even distribution across the city.

civil partnership female

The three most easterly boroughs – Barking & Dagenham, Bexley and Havering – were the only ones to see more female than male civil partnerships. Sutton had equal numbers.

A change in the law has meant same sex couples have been allowed to marry since March 2014. Many couples in civil partnerships are converting that legal relationship into a marriage.

Source data

See also

The dating data for lovelorn Londoners

Time to celebrate but there’s no pride in a rise in homophobic attacks



Time to celebrate but there’s no pride in a rise in homophobic attacks

Ross Burgess LGBT History Project Creative Commons-2

Photo © Ross Burgess, LGBT History Project ┃Creative Commons

Hundreds of thousands of people will converge on central London on Saturday for the Pride in London parade, the culmination of a week of activities and the biggest LGBT event in the UK.   But despite the celebration and positive sentiment towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that Pride brings out there is darker undercurrent in London – homophobic attacks are up by 50% in the past 18 months.

Data from the Metropolitan Police shows that in the 12 months to the end of April this year attacks reached a new peak with 1,595 crimes reported. Urbs London measured homophobic attacks over 12 month rolling periods from April 2008. As the chart below shows, attacks rose  until September 2010 and then began to fell back to 1,058 in the 12 months ending in August 2013. Since then attacks have risen to the new peak.

homophobic attacks trend

There seems to be a seasonal element to homophobic crime.  Looking at the data by month over the the full calendar years for the period 2009 to 2014 shows monthly averages higher in June and July.

homophobic attacks seasonal

It is not clear from the data, which is based on recorded crimes, how much of the increase is due to better reporting of incidents. Homophobic attacks are classified as a hate crime, and the Met records more hate crimes than any other police service in the UK. But the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, says that it is a category of crime that remains under-reported.

A hate crime is defined as one “which is perceived,
by the victim or any other person, to
 be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic; specifically actual or perceived race, religion/faith, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity.”

Homophobic attacks make up about 10% of hate crimes in London. 75% are based on race and religion.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime last year embarked upon a hate crime reduction strategy based on 3 objectives – improved reporting, prevention and achieving swifter justice for victims. In setting out the strategy the Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greelagh, said, “These crimes are rare, but we recognise that society must change to tackle the root causes. Where hate crime occurs we owe it to all Londoners to work as hard as we can to seek justice and enable victims to cope and recover.”

Source data

See also

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded