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Sharp rise in new cases of gonorrhoea

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The number of new diagnoses of gonorrhoea in England increased by 25 per cent last year, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Data for 2011 showed new STI diagnoses rose by 2 per cent overall, reversing a small decline shown the previous year. New cases of syphilis cases increased by 10 per cent, with genital herpes up five per cent.

The sharpest increases in diagnoses were in men who have sex with men, where new gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis cases were up 61, 48 and 28 per cent respectively.

Among heterosexuals, overall rates were highest in young adults (age 15-24), who accounted for more than half of all new gonorrhoea and genital warts diagnoses.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at the HPA, said: 'We anticipated some increase in diagnoses due to improvements in testing in recent years, but not on the scale seen here.'

The HPA expressed concern about the falling number of younger adults being screened for chlamydia.

Dr Angie Bone, director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, said sexually active under-25 year-olds should be screened every year or on change of partner.

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