HAMMERSMITH and Fulham has the unwanted tag of being the capital's hotspot for genital warts, as the number of sexually transmitted infections in London rose by more than 100,000.
New figures show there were more than 111,451 new STI diagnoses in the capital in 2012, which is the highest rate in England and 74 per cent higher than anywhere else.
Hammersmith and Fulham has the fifth overall highest infection rate in London, with 1,937 new cases per 100,000 people. But it comes top of the league for genital warts with 285 cases per 100,000 people and second behind Hackney for herpes, with 152 new diagnoses per 100,000.
Genital warts can cause extreme discomfort if left untreated, although the infection does not pose a significant threat to health. Herpes is highly contagious and can cause blisters, burning and itching, and the virus can reoccur even after treatment.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, regional director for Public Health England in London, said: “The high STI rates in London mean that too many people are continuing to have unsafe sex and putting themselves at risk. Using condoms, having fewer sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships can reduce this risk.”
"These figures show why sexual health should be a priority for London. It is important to sustain prevention efforts in London, such as easier access to sexual health services and STI screening, as we know that the sooner people are diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is that they will pass the infection on. We also need to improve education and knowledge of STIs, particularly among young people and men who have sex with men.”
Chlamydia remained the most commonly diagnosed STI but new gonorrhoea diagnoses rose by 27 per cent. People aged under 25 years are the most likely age group to catch an STI.
Dr Paul Crook, an STI epidemiologist for PHE London, suggested the rise in cases could be down to a greater number of tests. He said: “There have been significant screening improvements in London in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before."
Both Kensington and Chelsea (1,652 per 100,000) and Westminster (1,910) were mid-table for overall STI rates.
* You can get sexual health checks at both Charing Cross and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals.