Data published by Public Health England (PHE) has shown that new sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses rose five per-cent in 2012, up to 448,422 from 428,255 in 2011.
While the increase could be a result of improved data collection, the continuing high STI rates in England suggest too many people are putting themselves at risk through unsafe sex, especially young adults and men who have sex with men (MSM).
Chlamydia remained the most commonly diagnosed STI (206,912; 46 per-cent), but considerable numbers of genital warts (73,893; 16 per-cent) and genital herpes (32,021; 7 per-cent) cases were also reported last year. New gonorrhoea diagnoses rose 21 per-cent overall (from 21,024 in 2011 to 25,525 in 2012), and by 37 per cent in the MSM population (to 10,754).
Dr Gwenda Hughes, PHE Head of STI surveillance, said:
“There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.
“However, these data show too many people are continuing to have unsafe sex, put themselves at risk of STIs and the serious consequences associated with infection, including infertility. Ongoing investment in programmes to increase sexual health awareness, condom use and testing, particularly for groups at most risk, is vital.
“We must also ensure chlamydia screening remains widely available. Local authorities should continue to integrate chlamydia screening into broader health services for young adults. This will also help this age group develop positive relationships with services, enabling them to develop and maintain good sexual health throughout their lives.”
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