- In 2013, there were approximately 450,000 diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) made in England.
- The impact of STIs remains greatest in young heterosexuals under the age of 25 years and in men who have sex with men (MSM).
- The most commonly diagnosed STI was chlamydia, with 208,755 diagnoses made in 2013
- The number of gonorrhoea diagnoses increased by 15% between 2012 and 2013.
- Large increases in STI diagnoses were seen in MSM, including a 26% increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses. Although partly due to increased testing in this population, ongoing high levels of unsafe sexual behaviour probably contributed to this rise.
- During the year, over 1.7 million chlamydia tests were carried out in England among young people aged 15 to 24 years old, with over 139,000 chlamydia diagnoses made.
- Thirty percent of Upper Tier Local Authorities (UTLAs) achieved a chlamydia diagnosis rate of at least 2,300 per 100,000 among 15 to 24 year olds, the recommended level for this Public Health Outcome Framework (PHOF) indicator. There was a strong relationship between chlamydia testing coverage and chlamydia diagnosis rates in UTLAs.
- Prevention efforts, such as greater STI screening coverage and easier access to sexual health services, should be sustained and continue to focus on groups at highest– risk.
- Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of catching or passing on an STI by:
- Consistently and correctly using condoms until all partners have had a sexual health screen.
- If in one of the highest risk groups, getting screened regularly will lead to early identification and treatment, as these infections are frequently asymptomatic:
- Sexually active under 25 year olds should be screened for chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner.
- MSM should have an HIV/STI screen at least annually or every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
- Black African men and women should also have an HIV test and a regular HIV/STI screen if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
- Reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.
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