Commenting on the release yesterday of NHS figures showing a 40 percent increase in cases of Chlamydia since 1999, a 63 percent rise in syphilis cases and a 19 percent increase in the number of people with gonorrhoea, in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien said: "These appalling statistics make very uncomfortable reading and highlight how urgently behavioural change is needed. As long as we teach our young people sexual mechanics rather than sexual morality such devastating figures will remain as a dismal reminder of our failure." "While some of the increase may be explained by greater awareness and testing, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that the underlying trends are not worsening. An increase in the level of infection - particularly in the 15-25 age group, is especially saddening." "I am particularly concerned at the Information Services Division's statement which states, 'A few of the GUM clinics have been experiencing difficulties in submitting data to ISD. Problems were particularly pronounced in Lothian, and the missing data has therefore been imputed by substituting data from nearby months. This means that some of the Lothian data in the years 2001 and 2002 may be slightly inaccurate'. In view of the high profile of the 'Health Respect' demonstration project operating in the Lothians it seems quite worrying that this is the one area in Scotland where detailed and accurate statistics are not fully available." Cardinal O'Brien concluded: "Once again I urge the Scottish Executive to reconsider the sexual health strategies which have created this disastrous situation. I ask Ministers to accept that improvements in Scotland's sexual health will not come about without promotion of the institution of marriage, the basic building block of our society and a willingness to pilot abstinence-based approaches on the basis that prevention will always be better than cure." Source: Scottish Catholic Media Office
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