STIs: Diagnoses of increasingly antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea infections rise by 'unprecedented' 25 per cent

 

The number of diagnoses of the sexual transmitted infection gonorrhoea has increased by an “unprecedented” 25 per cent in the past year, the Health Protection Agency has revealed.

Gonorrhea, the second most common bacterial STI in the UK, is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment and Britain faces “the very real danger of the untreatable gonorrhoea in the future”, health experts said.

There were 20,965 new cases of gonorrhoea diagnosed in England in 2011, up from 16,835 in the previous year. Overall, diagnoses of STIs were up by two per cent in the UK in 2011, reversing a small decline observed in the previous year.

Although the dramatic increase in gonorrhoea cases was partly attributed to more sensitive testing, the HPA said that too many people were still putting themselves at risk, with gay men and young heterosexual adults were the groups causing the greatest concern. Instances of gonorrhoea were up by 61 per cent among men who have sex with men and young heterosexual adults, between 15 to 24-years-old, represented 57 per cent if all new gonorrhoea diagnoses.  

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at the HPA, said: “We anticipated some increase in diagnoses due to improvements in testing in recent years, but not on the scale seen here,” she said. “Too many people are putting themselves at risk of STIs and serious health problems by having unsafe sex.”

Dr Hughes said that in the past five years laboratory testing of the gonorrhoea bacterium had shown greatly increased resistance to the main drugs used to treat the infection.

Gonorrhoea can have serious effects if left untreated. Young women with gonorrhoea can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause chronic abdominal pain and also lead to infertility.

New diagnoses of syphilis were up by 10 per cent to 2,915 and herpes was up five per cent to 31,154. Although the number of new cases of Chlamydia was down by two per cent to 186,196, Dr Hughes said this was most likely a reflection of fewer young people getting tested.

Sexual health campaigners warned that public health authorities had “taken their foot of the pedal” on informing and warning the public about the dangers of STIs and said that the upcoming transfer of responsibility for public health to cash-strapped local authorities risked worsening the problem.

 “These figures are a salutary lesson,” said Lisa Power, policy director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading sexual health charity. “Sexual health services have had a much lower profile in recent years and it’s demonstrable what happens when you let up on informing the public about the risks. We’ve been working hard with local authorities and our experience is that the services on offer will incredibly variable. There will be a postcode lottery for sexual health unless services are improved across the board.”

Sexual health services and advice are currently available from a variety of NHS providers. Next year local authorities will take over responsibility for public health, including sexual health.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

    £16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

    KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

    IT Systems Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

    Day In a Page

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world