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Gonorrhoea and Syphilis diagnoses reach record high, UKHSA reveal

Gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592 in 2022, a 50.3% increased compared to 2021 and a 16.1% increase from 2019.

The latest data from the UKHSA has shown record levels of gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses in 2022.

Gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592 in 2022, a 50.3% increased compared to 2021 and a 16.1% increase from 2019.

While infectious syphilis diagnoses increased to 8,692 in 2022 up from 7,543 in 2021.

There were more than 400 diagnoses of STIs last year with people aged 15 to 24 still the most likely to be diagnosed.

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

Dr Mohammed reminded that condoms are the best defence but if one has not be used to go and get tested to prevent passing anything on to others.

Richard Angell, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust responded to the data with: ‘Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Today’s significant rise in sexually transmitted infections is a worrying testament to the fact that there is no vision or ambition for improving sexual health in England. We’ve seen cuts where we need to see investment.

‘This has reduced our sexual health services to a minimal disease management process. This cannot continue. If this were any other set of health conditions, there would be outcry and we’d see rapid action and much needed funding.’

Angell urged the Government to set out a sexual and reproductive health action plan with this data being a ‘wake-up’ call to inspire action.

‘Year after year the same groups are most impacted by STIs, including young people, gay and bisexual men, people living with HIV and those of Black Caribbean ethnicity. But nothing is being done to properly understand the impact of structural inequalities on poor sexual health, including racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. We need a long-term plan for turning this around, but currently there’s not even a short-term vision.’