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Gonorrhea And Syphilis Rates Are Going Up By 20 Percent

Jun 06, 2018 08:36 AM EDT
Public Health England released new data illustrating the rise of sexually transmitted infections in the country. Health officials say budget cuts play a role in the problem.
(Photo : Hans Braxmeier | Pixabay)

Gonorrhea and syphilis are sweeping over England as the country sees an alarming rise in sexually transmitted infections in the past year.

Sexually transmitted infections or STI cases are continuing to be a big problem, especially in England where a number of officials are saying the issue is growing due to budget cuts.

STD Cases Continue To Increase

New data released by Public Health England (PHE) showed that there were almost 46,000 cases of gonorrhea and more than 7,000 cases of syphilis in England in 2017. This indicates a 22 percent increase for gonorrhea and a 20 percent increase for syphilis from the past year.

Chlamydia cases also remain a huge chunk of STIs, although new cases decreased by 2 percent. There were still more than 200,000 cases of chlamydia in 2017, which is 48 percent of all STI diagnoses for the entire year.

New incidents of genital warts also fell, largely due to the national HPV vaccination program implemented on girls from 12 to 13 years old.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are still the most affected group. Black and other ethnic minority groups are found to be disproportionately affected, while 75 percent of new syphilis diagnoses are on gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men, making this the most at risk demographic.

Why STI Is Spreading

Many suggest that the current outbreak of STIs can be traced to budget cuts on health services.

"This government is presiding over a national crisis in sexual health, caused in large part by the decision to implement year-on-year cuts to the public health grant which funds sexual health services," Deborah Gold, the National Aids Trust chief executive, points out.

Debbie Laycock of the Terrence Higgins Trust seconds the sentiment, saying that services are already stretched far too thin and more cuts are in the works for the future.

"The significant rise in both syphilis and gonorrhoea shows why further cuts are completely unacceptable and would be extremely damaging, particularly given the emergence of a new extensively drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea," Laycock stresses.

Super-gonorrhea, which is resistant to various treatments, is shaping up to be a problem with one case confirmed in the United Kingdom last March 2017, then two cases in Australia following soon after, according to BBC News.

To avoid STI, doctors are encouraging sexually active individuals to use protection.

"Consistent and correct condom use with new and casual partners is the best defence against STIs, and if you are at risk, regular check-ups are essential to enable early diagnosis and treatment," Dr. Gwenda Hughes from the PHE says.

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