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Sexually transmitted infections increase 10% among gay men

Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased among gay men in the last year, particularly rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis.

Figures published today by Public Health England show that 434,456 STIs were reported in England in 2015.

About 12% (54,275) of these were in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. This is a 10% increase on 2014, when rates of infection had already surged.

The overall number of diagnoses fell by 3% compared to 2014 (when there were 449,642 diagnoses), largely because diagnoses of chlamydia and genital warts fell by 4% and 7% respectively. However, diagnoses of gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnosis increased (by 11% and 20%), predominately in men who have sex with other men.

There was a decrease in genital warts among young women, which PHE attributes to the national HPV vaccination programme.

The most commonly diagnosed STI was chlamydia, accounting for 46% of diagnoses (200,288).

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.

'We recommend that anyone having sex with a new or casual partner uses condoms and tests regularly for HIV and STIs. It is also vital to ensure there is easy access to STI testing and treatment services that meet the needs of local populations.'

Readers' comments (1)

  • Oh God - we're about to hear that the NHS is homophobic

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