STI rates rise among gay men and young adults

New figures from Public Health England (PHE) shown a 10% increase in the number of reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in among gay men in England last year and a sustained high rate overall.

Released on 5 July, the figures show there were 434,456 reported STIs last year, of which 54,275 were among gay or bisexual men.

Diagnoses of syphilis increased by 20% and gonorrhoea by 11% on the back of a consistent increase in the past five years, which PHE stated was mostly among men who have sex with men.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, Head of STI Surveillance at PHE said: “The new statistics show STI rates are still very high among gay men and young adults.

“We need to do more to raise awareness about STIs and how they can be prevented, especially the effectiveness of using condoms”.

Dr Hughes recommended use of condoms and regular tests for STIs including HIV, as well stressing the importance of easy access to testing and treatment services.

Chlamydia accounted for 46% of all diagnoses last year, but overall the figures represent a small decrease in rates of diagnosis compared to 2014.

However, PHE has stated this is down to a reduction in people being tested regularly.

“Young people are routinely offered Chlamydia screening but only 13% of young men and 32% of young women were tested in 2015,” added Dr Hughes.

PHE also reported rates of genital warts, which accounts for over 68,000 diagnoses each year, had fallen significantly, primarily due to the national HPV vaccination programme among young women.


Photo credit: Pacom13

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