New data has revealed that the number of people in England who have contracted the sexually transmitted infections (STI), syphilis and gonorrhea, has drastically increased. In 2017, the overall rate for STI has remained stable compared to 2016, but cases involving syphilis and gonorrhea have risen 20 percent and 22 percent respectively.

STI's On The Rise

The findings, that were released by the Public Health England (PHE), showed that there were over 7,000 reported cases of syphilis and 46,000 reported cases of gonorrhea in 2017. 

The increase in syphilis follows a 10-year trend and the reports show that of those infected the most by this STI are people who are gay, bisexual or men who had sexual relations with other men.

Overall, the impact of STI remains the greatest among blacks and other minority groups. Teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15-21 years old are also greatly impacted by STI.

PHE claims that this alarming new information is due to budget cuts as testings in clinics fell to 61 percent in 2015. 

Chlamydia is still the most prevalent of all the diseases with over 1.3 million tests for the STI carried out. From those tests, an estimate of 126,000 young adults, between the ages of 15-24 years, was diagnosed with it.

What Can Be Done To Prevent This?

In March 2018, a man was diagnosed with the first case of "super gonorrhea" in the United States, concerning health officials that current rise in gonorrhea could potentially lead to more cases like this.

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

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

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.

In December 2017, PHE created a sexual health campaign, called Protect Against STIs, that urged young adults to practice safe sex and use condoms. The campaign targeted teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16-24 years old. 

Debbie Laycock from Terrence Higgins Trust claimed that the sexual services that are available are stretched "too thinly" and any further cuts would be unacceptable given the current rise in syphilis and gonorrhea. 

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