Hundreds of soldiers based at Catterick Garrison have been diagnosed with an STD, This includes eight servicemen who have been found to have HIV, a condition. Since 2012, a total of 324 troops based at the base have been found to have an STD – despite the Government dishing out free condoms to soldiers.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) insist the figure is a “small percentage” of the total troops based at Catterick during that time. A Freedom of Information request to the MOD has revealed around one in 88 troops, registered at Catterick’s medical centre in the last four years, has been found to have an STD. Statistically, servicemen are most likely to catch chlamydia, while the majority of female troops tested positively for genital herpes. However for the eight who tested positively for HIV, the diagnosis could bring the curtain down on their military career.
The majority of those who tested positively at the North Yorkshire barracks, home for many Teesside troops, were soldiers with just a handful in the RAF. The condition, a precursor to AIDS, prevents troops from fighting on the frontline. Those with less serious diseases are understood to be given lighter-duties until they are rid of it. The MOD say it has an active sexual health campaign to try and reduce the risk of soldiers catching an STD. A spokesperson added: “The number of personnel with read codes for STDs is a small percentage of the 28,500 permanent personnel and recruits based at Catterick during the period concerned.
“All personnel, including recruits, are required to undertake annual training on healthy living, which includes a section on sexual health.
“A number of sexual health guides are available for personnel and units.
“Personnel can also access free condoms from their medical centres.
“Units within Catterick Garrison also undertake unit sexual health fairs at which the York Sexual Health team attend and provide advice to personnel and their partners.
However the Government department admit the number of troops with STDs could be even higher.
“Service personnel can choose to attend NHS and private sexual health clinics,” added a spokesperson.
“Therefore, these figures may not represent all personnel who have had a STD within the time period.”