The London Olympic Games in 2012 is in danger of becoming a sexual health disaster, one of the UK's leading sexual health charities has warned.

The Terrence Higgins Trust has hit out at the lack of planning by Olympic organisers to tackle what it claims is a serious risk of outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections at the 2012 games.

Although research from previous events shows that the rate of STIs rose in Olympic host cities, no planning has been put in place to safeguard sexual health in London.

Sex workers

Statistics from Sydney show that there were an estimated 10,000 sex workers operating in the city for the 2000 Olympic Games, and they were reported to have had as many as 150,000 clients per day between them during the event.

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust 70,000 condoms were ordered for athletes in Sydney, but supplies ran out and another 20,000 had to be ordered.

During the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, 250,000 condoms were handed out, and condom machines in the athletes' village had to be refilled every two hours.

Risk assessment

The major review of the possible health benefits and risks of London hosting the 2012 games, the Rapid Health Impact Assessment, carried out by the London Health Commission and the London Development Agency, made no mention of HIV or other STIs.

But the Terrence Higgins Trust said studies by clinicians in Sydney after the 2000 Olympic Games found a significant increase in the numbers of recent arrivals in the city using sexual health services and a corresponding increase in the numbers of people presenting with symptoms of a STIs during the games.

These were mainly among casual workers drawn to the city in the run-up to the games by increased employment opportunities.

Strain on services

The charity says already overstretched sexual health clinics in London and other cities where Olympic events are scheduled may not be able to cope with an influx of tourists and athletes needing services.

Terrence Higgins head of policy Lisa Power said: 'Past experience shows that the Olympics are a magnet for sexual as well as sporting activities and it's important that we plan to prevent a negative impact on the sexual health of East London.'

A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games said it was unable to comment on plans to tackle sexual health risks at the games at this stage.

A spokeswoman for Newham primary care trust, the lead PCT for the London Olympics, said it would be working on initiatives to improve all areas of public health connected with the Games.