London: England is witnessing a spike in gonorrhoea and syphilis sexually transmitted infections, new figures revealed on Wednesday.
"Gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592 in 2022, an increase of 50.3% compared to 2021 (54,961) and 16.1% compared to 2019 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) – this is the highest number of diagnoses in any one year since records began in 1918," read a statement issued by the UK government.
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.
"People aged 15 to 24 years remain the most likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs)," read the statement.
In 2022, there were over 400 diagnoses of STIs made each day among young people.
UKHSA said it is reminding everyone having sex with new or casual partners to wear a condom and get tested regularly, whatever their age or sexual orientation.
"Testing is free and confidential and you should get tested even if you are not showing any symptoms," read the statement.
Though STIs are usually easily treated with antibiotics, many can cause serious health issues if left untreated.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, while syphilis can cause serious, irreversible and potentially life-threatening problems with your brain, heart, or nerves.
Dr Hamish Mohammed, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: "We saw more gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2022 than ever before, with large rises particularly in young people."
"Mohammed said: "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."
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