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06th Jun 2023

Gonorrhoea and syphilis cases in England hit record high

Charlie Herbert

New figures have been released by authorities

The number of gonorrhoea and syphilis cases in England hit a record high last year, new figures have revealed.

Annual figures from the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) show gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592 in 2022, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2021 (54,961).

This is the highest number of diagnoses in a single year since records began in 1918, Sky News reports.

Infectious syphilis diagnoses increased to 8,692 in 2022, up 15.2% compared to 2021 (7,543) and 8.1% compared to 2019. This is the largest annual number since 1948.

The age group most likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are people aged 15 to 24. This is due to them changing sexual partners more often than other age groups.

STIs are usually treatable with antibiotics, but some can cause serious health issues such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.

The UKHSA has urged people to use condoms and get tested regularly if having sex with new or casual partners.

According to the NHS, gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial STI in the UK, after chlamydia.

Most cases of the infection affect gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

It can be prevented by using contraception such as condoms during sex. The NHS also advises either to not share sex toys, or to wash them and cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them, to avoid the risk of spreading gonorrhoea.

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