STI figures down, but fears exist that untested people are spreading disease

A medical expert says people are “running around” with sexually transmitted diseases because sexual health clinics are closed for testing.

Dr Jack Lambert, a consultant in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the Mater hospital in Dublin, said emergency cases presenting to his team represent the “tip of the iceberg”.

“My assumption, based on the emergency cases we have seen in the last three months, is that there are a lot of people running around with STIs,” he said.

“Anecdotally, I have seen people presenting with syphilis, with gonorrhoea and chlamydia and my team at the Mater hospital have seen emergency patients presenting sick with these infections, mostly men, some women”.

Dr Lambert’s comments follow the release of new figures that show sharp falls in the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the first five months of this year.

Dr Lambert said he thinks the message that STIs are down is not quite accurate because it is more likely explained by the unavailability of sexual health clinics.

Latest statistics from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre recorded that chlamydia infections reduced by 21pc, gonorrhoea by 18pc, genital herpes by 31pc and syphilis by 25pc compared with the same period last year.