Cases of gonorrhea and syphilis soared in England last year, figures show

The UKHSA is urging those who are having sex with new or causal partners to wear a condom. Credit: PA

Cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis in England soared last year, according to new figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Gonorrhoea diagnoses rose to to 82,592 in 2022, representing an increase of 50.3% compared to 2021 and the highest in any one year since records began in 1918.

Syphilis diagnoses, meanwhile, increased to 8,692 - the largest annual number since 1948.

People aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be diagnosed with STIs, according to the agency.

Consequently, it urging those who are having sex with new or causal partners to wear a condom and get tested regularly.

STIs can be easily treated with antibiotics, but could also cause serious health issues if left untreated.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, while syphilis can lead to potentially life-threatening problems with the brain, heart or nerves.

"We saw more gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2022 than ever before, with large rises, particularly in young people," said Dr Hamish Mohammed, consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA.

Gonorrhea diagnoses have reached their highest level since records began in 1918. Credit: PA

"STIs aren't just an inconvenience - they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners.

"Condoms are the best defence but if you didn't use one the last time you had sex with a new or casual partner, get tested to detect any potential infections early and prevent passing them on to others.

"Testing is important because you may not have any symptoms of an STI."

In 2022, there were 2,195,909 diagnostic tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or HIV - 13.4% more than 2021.

The UKHSA said while the rise in gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses will partly be due to increases in testing, the sharp rise "strongly suggests" there is more transmission of STIs in the population.

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