Islington has highest rate of herpes in England

�Islington has the highest rate of herpes in England – and is one of the worst areas for sexually transmitted infections.

There were 178 cases of herpes diagnosed per 100,000 people in 2010 – 13 per cent more than the second-worst area and meaning 356 in total.

Only cases diagnosed at specialised sexual health clinics were recorded, so the actual rate was likely to be higher.

Dr Eva Jungmann, senior consultant at The Archway Centre, a sexual health clinic in Holloway Road, Archway, said: “Some people with herpes find it really difficult to cope, and get frequent reoccurrences. It’s not a huge health risk, but it can badly affect people psychologically and socially.

“Because of the ulcers, it also increases the chance of passing on or catching HIV.”

The borough also has the third-highest rate of gonorrhoea – which has seen a 26 per cent increase since 2009 – and was in the top seven worst areas for syphilis and genital warts, according to figures released by the Health Protection Agency this week. Chlamydia was most common, with 584 cases diagnosed per 100,000 people.

Dr Jungmann said Islington is likely to be badly hit because STIs are more widespread in less well-off areas.

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She added: “Health education activities for young people and outreach projects have been cut – so I would not be surprised to see further increases.”

A 25-year-old man from Holloway, who has had three cases of herpes this year and did not want to be named, said: “I don’t know how I got it. It was very unpleasant – it causes painful blisters and feverish symptoms, as well as being quite embarrassing. There’s a lot of stigma.

“It’s not as serious as some of the other STIs but it’s incurable – I will have it for the rest of my life. It lasts for about two weeks and has come back twice already.”

Rates of STIs in London as a whole are 50 per cent higher than the rest of the country.