Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Syphilis and gonorrhoea cases have spiked in England

Syphilis and gonorrhoea cases have spiked in England

A mutant strain of the infection - which cannot be treated with the usual course of antibiotics - struck in Britain for the first time earlier this year.

New figures show there were a total of 7,137 cases of syphilis in 2017 - an increase of 20% from the previous year and more than double what was recorded in 2012.

The case was linked to travel to south-east Asia, but Public Health England has reminded Global Positioning System to refer all suspected cases of gonorrhoea to specialist sexual health services (SHS).

Debbie Laycock, from the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Our sexual health services are stretched too thinly and demand outweighs availability, with more cuts already planned". The number of patients with gonorrhea increased to 22 percent in the same year.

Hughes also stated that STI's can cause a serious health problem for those who are infected as it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and danger to unborn babies.

Public Health England is developing a syphilis action plan to address the increase in cases, and recently launched a sexual health campaign targeted at 16 to 24-year-olds called Protect Against STIs.

In March, the first case of super-gonorrhoea was detected in the United Kingdom, in a man who is thought to have caught the infection having sex overseas in South East Asia.

There are two similar cases of this rare infection reported in Australia.

"All three cases were associated with travel to south-east Asia".

Both sexually transmitted infections (STIs), syphilis and gonorrhoea, are on the rise in modern England, staging a comeback from the Victorian era.

Chlamydia is still the most prevalent of the STIs, with more than 200,000 cases last year, accounting for 48 percent of all new diagnoses in the last year.

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.

Health experts have expressed concern over a decline in chlamydia testing in sexual health clinics. According to the PHE, most of this decline has been seen in the SHS where testing for chlamydia has come down by 61 percent since 2015. They also urged sexually active people to get tested regularly, especially the most vulnerable age and ethnic groups.

"The fact that young people continue to be disproportionately affected when it comes to STIs clearly shows a much needed emphasis on sexual health and STIs when relationships and sex education (RSE) becomes compulsory in England from 2019".

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