Increased attendances of people of eastern European origin at sexual health services in London
Objective: To describe the service use of migrants from eight central and eastern European (CEE) countries at two central London genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics before and after accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Methods: KC60 data collected between 1 June 2001 and 30 April 2007. Data refer to new attendances and exclude those attending for follow-up appointments.
Results: 102 604 people attended the clinics at least once over the study period. Between May 2006 and 30 April 2007 individuals born in the eight CEE countries accounted for 7.9% of attendances among women and 2.5% of attendances made by men; the proportion increasing significantly over the 6-year study period (p<0.001). Syphilis was more likely in CEE men (age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.98, 95% CI 1.07 to 8.29) and family planning services were more likely to be required for CEE women (23.9% vs 12.4%, age-adjusted OR 2.33, 95% CI 2.02 to 2.68, p<0.001), than for those born elsewhere. A larger proportion of men from CEE countries were recorded as homosexual or bisexual than men from other countries (38.3% vs 31.9%, p = 0.003).
Conclusions: CEE migrants already have a substantial impact on GUM services in London. If attendance rates continue at the current level CEE women will soon account for over 10% of new attendances. Although the majority of CEE migrants are men, proportionately fewer CEE men accessed GUM services than women. Sexual and reproductive health services need to adapt quickly to meet the needs of this growing population.