Diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in England have soared to record high in the last 10 years, according to the country's health department.
Public Health England's most recent report revealed that overall rates of STIs remained consistent in 2017 except for syphilis and gonorrhea which increased to a record high.
Syphilis cases increased 20 percent from 5,955 to 7,137 diagnoses in 2017. The number of patients with gonorrhea increased to 22 percent in the same year. Cases of genital warts declined due to an uptake of Human Papilloma Virus vaccine among young girls aged 12 to 13. However, testing and diagnoses for chlamydia dropped to 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
"In 2017, there were approximately 420,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in England, around the same number that was reported last year," Public Health England said in a Twitter post.
Syphilis And Gonorrhea: Symptoms And Treatment
Both syphilis and gonorrhea are transmitted through sexual contact. Early symptoms of syphilis include sores on the lips, mouth, rectum, vagina, or anus of an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Men with gonorrhea may feel a burning sensation while urinating, accompanied by a white, yellow, or green discharge. Women, on the other hand, usually do not develop symptoms, but they can suffer from serious complications since the disease can go undetected.
Diagnosing syphilis during the early stage of the infection is important. During the tertiary stage of the infection, a person may suffer from severe medical conditions that could affect the heart, brain, and other internal organs.
Gonorrhea can be cured using the right medication, and it's crucial to be completely free from the infection before engaging in sexual activities.
How To Prevent The Spread of STIs
Last year, the Public Health England launched a nationwide sexual health campaign called Protect Against STIs. The purpose of the program is to encourage condom use among teens and young adults who are at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
"Sexually transmitted infections pose serious consequences to health — both your own and that of your current and future sexual partners. The impact of STIs can be considerable, with some causing infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and harm to unborn babies," said Dr. Gwenda Hughes, consultant scientist and head of sexually transmitted infection section at Public Health England.
Dr. Hughes said the best defense anyone has against these diseases is the consistent and correct use of condoms, especially with casual partners. Individuals at risk should attend regular check-ups to take advantage of early medical intervention.