Gonorrhoea levels in England are the highest they've been since records began in 1918, official data shows.
A report by Public Health England reveals there were 70,936 diagnoses last year, up 26 percent from 56,232 in 2018.
The STI has become increasingly prevalent over recent years, with diagnoses rising by 71 percent between 2015 and 2019.
It's not just gonorrhoea that is becoming more abundant in England, STIs on the whole are up by five percent on the previous year, with syphilis up 10 percent, and chlamydia up five percent and remaining the most commonly diagnosed STI.
The sharp increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses is in part due to increased and improved testing, however, health officials have warned that inconsistent and incorrect condom use is also playing a part.
Dr Hamish Mohammed, National Lead for Sexually Transmitted Infection Surveillance at Public Health England, said: "The considerable rise of gonorrhoea cases in England, as well as the continued rise of other STIs, is concerning. It is important to emphasise that STIs can pose serious consequences to health - both your own and that of current and future sexual partners.
"We have seen that gonorrhoea has become more resistant to antibiotics and expect to see further cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea in the future, which will be challenging for healthcare professionals to manage.
Gonorrhoea infections increased by 26% from 2018 to 2019.- Public Health England (@PHE_uk) September 3, 2020
STIs such as gonorrhoea can pose serious consequences to your health.
Using condoms consistently and correctly with new and casual sexual partners is the best way to protect yourself.https://t.co/VkowpfKC73
"The consistent and correct use of condoms with new and casual sexual partners is the best defence against all STIs. If you have had sex without a condom with a new or casual partner, you should get tested."
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said the data was a reflection of Government inaction and he called for services to be scaled up post-lockdown.
He said: "Today's new STI figures clearly show the impact of the Government's ongoing inaction and lack of vision for improving the nation's sexual health. Rates of sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and syphilis are rising significantly while sexual health services are over-burdened and under-funded.
"This data is for 2019 and so doesn't account for the COVID-19 pandemic, impact of lockdown or social distancing. It'll be some time before the impact of coronavirus is known - good or bad - but a pandemic is not a sustainable solution for tackling soaring rates of STIs.
"Coronavirus and lockdown were never the answer to the question of how to improve the nation's sexual health and we need long-term solutions. Now, as people start to have sex again following lockdown, it's vital services and access to testing and treatment are scaled up in parallel."
You can learn more about gonorrhoea symptoms, diagnosis and treatment here.
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