Diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections rose 5 per cent in England last year – leading to a warning that people are continuing to engage in risky sexual behaviour.
Public Health England – which released the figures – particularly highlighted “young adults and men who have sex with men (MSM)”.
In its report, the group noted: “Of particular concern is the ongoing rise in STI diagnoses among MSM”, adding “ongoing high levels of unsafe sex among MSM are likely contributing to increased transmission”.
The group also said improved data collection was a major factor in the rise in diagnoses – to 448,422 from 428,255 in 2011.
Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed STI, accounting for nearly half of the overall total.
People under 25 had the highest STI rates, making up 64 per cent of all chlamydia diagnoses and 54 per cent of genital warts diagnoses in heterosexuals.
According to the figures new gonorrhoea diagnoses rose 21 per cent overall and 37 per cent among men who have sex with men.
In a press release Public Health England warned: “High gonorrhoea transmission rates are concerning as the global threat of antibiotic resistance grows.”
Dr Gwenda Hughes, Public Health England’s head of STI surveillance, said there had been “significant improvements in screening in recent years” meaning more infections are being diagnosed and treated “than ever before”.
“However”, she added, “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”.
Earlier this year it emerged that a secondary school in Scotland had held an “emergency” sexual health assembly amid fears of an outbreak of chlamydia amongst pupils.
The students at Buckhaven High School, Fife, were given advice on protection from sexually transmitted infections because of rumours that several pupils had contracted the disease.
A former student of the school said teachers had to act because so many pupils were suffering from chlamydia.