A rise of five per cent in the number of diagnosed sexually transmitted infections.
Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI) have been increasing, according to a new Public Health England (PHE) report.
Chlamydia remains the most commonly diagnosed infection, but figures show a large increase in gonorrhoea and more moderate increases in chlamydia, syphilis and genital herpes.
Compared to the previous year, there was a five per cent increase in diagnosed infections – from 424,724 in 2018 to 447,694.
The increase in infections has been attributed to a rise in the number of casual partners alongside a failure to use condoms correctly and consistently.
PHE has urged people to practice safer sex and take up the offer of STI screening, regardless of whether they show symptoms.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, Head of STI Surveillance at PHE, said: “The rise in sexually transmitted infections is concerning. STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners.
“No matter what age you are, or what type of relationship you are in, it’s important to look after your sexual health. If you have sex with a new or casual partner, make sure you use condoms and get regularly tested.”
Those at risk of STIs can access services through sexual health clinics many of which offer online testing.
Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s Director for England, said: “We’ve seen more and more sexual health services provided online in recent years and while this report seems to show it means more people are able to seek help for a suspected STI, we need to make sure these services are robust, fit for purpose and safe.
“While the number of STI diagnoses has increased, many of these cases are preventable if the cuts to the public health grant for local authorities are reversed, and nursing staff in sexual and reproductive health are valued and given opportunities to develop their specialism.”