Sexual Health in Suffolk


Why should Sexual Health be on our agenda? 

Sexual Health is more than about protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections, it is an important part of both physical and emotional wellbeing. It is about being able to have healthy and safe relationships as well as recognising and respecting the sexual health rights we all share. It is about being able to communicate about sexual health. This includes sexual partners and professionals as well as having access to sexual health information, education and care.

We know in Suffolk that;

  • We have lower rates of STI diagnoses than the average in England, however diagnoses are on the rise
  • In 2019, around 54.9% of diagnoses were in young people under the age of 25
  • Those who have experienced 4 or more adverse childhood experiences are 30 times more likely to be diagnosed with an STI 
  • Between 2012 and 2018 we have seen a significant decrease in the rate of new HIV diagnoses
  • Teenage pregnancies have significantly decreased over the past 10 years. There are higher teenage conception rates in Suffolk’s more deprived communities compared to less deprived areas.

In Suffolk, we have a positive picture for sexual health overall. However, it is still crucial we continue to promote good sexual health to;

  • Prevent the spread of infection and treatment of infection to prevent longer term health effects
  • Provide people with skills to maintain happy, healthy and safe relationships
  • Support children to have the best start in life – healthy happy parents = healthy happy kids!
  • Prevent children going into care by supporting vulnerable women to start families at a time that is right for them
  • Reduce risk taking behaviours in our young people – reducing teenage pregnancy and the impact this has on opportunities, attainment etc.
  • Support people of all ages access correct and quality information

What does Sexual Health look like in Suffolk (2019)?

The general picture of sexual health in Suffolk is positive, with low prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and lower rates of teenage pregnancy compared to other parts of England. However, some populations in Suffolk have higher needs.

There is a correlation between deprivation and higher rates of teenage pregnancy, with higher rates in Ipswich than across England as a whole. Although absolute numbers are relatively low, rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis (both historically rare STIs) are on the rise. The diagnosed prevalence of HIV is low in Suffolk compared to England, but late diagnosis of HIV is higher than England in some districts. See below for a snapshot of sexual health in Suffolk and how our services are working to improve it:


Page reviewed and updated March 2020. Next Review: September 2020.