This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Everyone in Hackney has chlamydia now, apparently, so I guess we need to stop fucking people from Hackney. You know that quote? That Tumblr quote. It is by John Waters and goes like this: "We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don't have books, don't fuck them."
John Waters was wrong. We need to make not having medically-inadvisable junk infections cool again. If you go home with someone and they try to take you back to Hackney, don't fuck them.
Because, as a new Public Health England (PHE) study reports, Hackney is the most sexually-infected London borough, and chlamydia is their number one jam. As boasts go, that isn't a good one, is it? It's also especially prevalent among young people, with 4,270 residents per 100,000 between the ages of 15 and 24 being clapped up to the nines. That's just no good.
There are other takeaways from the report, too, based on 2014 data: last year there were 439,243 reported STIs in the UK, with gay men (categorized as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men) being most at risk of infection. Chlamydia was still the most commonly diagnosed STI, with 47 percent of cases (206,774), followed by genital warts (70,612). Increase-wise, syphilis is making a weird, old school comeback (up 33 percent on 2013), while gonorrhea is having a renaissance, with 2014 seeing a 19 percent increase—especially bad because gonorrhea is one of those smart, tactile STIs that can suss out and become more resistant to antibiotics.
But it's London where the problem is worst, with 113,381 cases in 2014—up five percent on the year before, and going against the general national grain of falling infection rates. Fun fact: Lambeth is the worst place in the country for gonorrhea! Fun fact: Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth, and Wandsworth are also seeing high rates of chlamydia, which can lead to infertility! Fun fact: heterosexual men and women were more likely to get genital warts or genital herpes! Fun fact: what the hell, people! Why would you put the most tender parts of yourself at risk of disease!
"These figures are very concerning and show too many people in London are still getting STIs by continuing to have unsafe sex," PHE London's Dr. Yvonne Doyle said. She added that certain trends—gonorrhea just generally being on the rise, for instance, with a 19 percent year-on-year infection rate—can be attributed to certain risky sexual behaviors, such as gay men having condom-less sex, and the emerging trend of people having unsafe sex while high on drugs.
On the whole, PHE London seems to think these figures are cause for concern, especially in El Capital. "The stats published today show that too many people are getting STIs," head of STI surveillance Dr. Gwenda Hughes said. "Reducing this spread must be a public health priority. We are particularly concerned about the large rises in diagnoses among gay men—this group saw a 46 percent increase in syphilis and a 32 percent increase in gonorrhea."
READ ON MOTHERBOARD: Why Are Condoms Still a Thing?
Allow me for one moment to put one foot firmly on the desk like a cool substitute geography teacher with a ponytail: hey kids, let's talk about sex. Imagine me unpeeling a greasy condom and putting my entire forearm in it. I am making intense eye contact with all of you, here. I am saying: no laughing at the back. I am saying: If you're too embarrassed to put your entire forearm and a few fingers from the other hand into a condom in front of a room full of people, then you're not mature enough to have sex.
The deflated, ruined condom lying prone on the table now, everyone tensely aware of it while I am pouring out a palm full of spermicidal gel. Me saying: The rhythm method does not protect you from STDs. Me going: I hear you kids like anal now. If you want to avoid more of these horrible, horrible lectures, start rubbering up, try to avoid overlapping sexual relationships too much, and if you're in a high risk group get your junk checked now and again. And that goes double for anyone in Hackney. Class dismissed.
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