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5% rise in number of STIs diagnosed last year

450,000 new sexually transmitted infections diagnosed in 2012

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 05 June 2013

There was a 5% rise in the number of new sexually transmitted infection diagnoses in 2012, according to data from Public Health England.

The agency attributed the rise predominantly to improved data collection.

According to the data, there were 448,422 new infections diagnosed last year compared with 428,255 in 2011.

Chlamydia remained the most commonly diagnosed STI accounting for 46% of the new diagnoses (206,912 infections), but there were also considerable numbers of genital warts and genital herpes, accounting for 16% (73,893) and 7% (32,021) of infections respectively reported last year.

There was a dramatic rise in new diagnoses of gonorrhoea – up 21% from 21,024 in 2011 to 25,525 in 2012. The rise was particularly marked in men who have sex with men, where it rose by 37% (to 10,754 infections). High gonorrhoea transmission rates are concerning as the global threat of antibiotic resistance grows.

People aged under 25 experienced the highest STI rates, contributing 64% of chlamydia and 54% of genital warts diagnoses in heterosexuals in 2012.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at Public Health England, 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.”

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