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Cases of sexually transmitted infections on the rise in England, data shows

Published on 05/06/19 at 11:33am

Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, according to new data from Public Health England.

There were 447,694 diagnoses of STIs made in England in 2018, representing a 5% increase on the numbers from 2017.

In total there were 218,095 cases of chlamydia, 57,318 of first episode genital warts, 56,259 cases of gonorrhoea and 33,867 cases of genital herpes. In comparison there were 424,724 cases of STIs in 2017.

The overall increase in the number of STIs was mainly down to a 26% increase in the number of gonorrhoea infections and moderate increases in chlamydia (6%) and syphilis (5%) infections.

The number of gonorrhoea infections was the highest it has been since 1978 as the number of cases of gonorrhoea have risen by 249% since 2009.

There has however been a marked decrease in the number of new HIV since 2015 among men who have sex with men (MSM).

This decrease has been attributed to the effects of increased rates of testing and more widespread use of PrEP.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, from Public Health England, said: “The rise in sexually transmitted infections is concerning.”

“No matter what age you are, or what type of relationship you are in, it's important to look after your sexual health. If you have sex with a new or casual partner, make sure you use condoms and get regularly tested.”

Dr Olwen Williams, president of British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, added: “Recent years have unfortunately seen severe and damaging cuts to sexual health service funding, jeopardising our ability to meet these challenges at a critical time.”

“The continuing escalation in gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses must be addressed as an urgent health priority, otherwise there is the potential for devastating consequences to the wellbeing of the wider population and the health system as a whole.”  

Louis Goss

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