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Sexually transmitted infections

Over 400,000 sexually transmitted infections reported in England in 2017, PHE report reveals

The number of confirmed cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis in England in 2017 rose by 22% and 20%, respectively, according to data released by Public Health England (PHE).

However, the total number of all sexually transmitted infections for 2017 (422,000) was around the same number reported in 2016, the statistics revealed.

The number of syphilis diagnoses reported in 2017 was the highest on record since 1949. Between 2008—2017, confirmed syphilis cases have risen by 148% (from 2,874 to 7,137), occurring mostly among men who have sex with men (MSM). PHE said it was working with partner organisations to develop an action plan to address this rise.

The number of first cases of genital warts in 2017 among girls aged 15–17 years was just 441 — a 90% fall compared to 2009 and an indication of the success of the national human papilloma virus immunisation programme for school-aged girls, PHE said.

Between 2016 and 2017 there was an 8% fall in the number of chlamydia tests, continuing the 2016 trend. Most of the decrease occurred in sexual and reproductive health services, reflecting a reduction in provision, the report admitted. Overall chlamydia testing had fallen by 61% since 2015.

The report said the impact of sexually transmitted infections remains the greatest in heterosexual people aged 15–24 years, black ethnic minorities and MSM.

PHE reiterated its general advice for people to use condoms to protect their sexual health and to encourage sexual health screening following a change in partner.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204963

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