Brighton and Hove has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections outside London as a surge of new diseases have been diagnosed.
Almost 1,500 new STI diagnoses per 100,000 residents were made in the city last year according to newly published figures by Public Health England. Reading, Southampton and Portsmouth were the other three areas which had rates above the national average.
Three of the five major STIs rose across the South East region last year as syphilis increased by 55 per cent, gonorrhoea by 23 per cent and chlamydia by six per cent. The remaining two – genital herpes and genital warts – decreased by four and nine per cent respectively.
The PHE updated statistics report said infection prevention efforts should include ensuring open access to sexual health services and STI screening, and should focus on groups at highest risk.
It also recommended: “MSM (men who have sex with men) should have a full HIV and STI screen at least annually, or every three months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.”
STIs disproportionately affect young people with South East residents aged between 15 and 24 accounting for 57 per cent of all new STI diagnoses in the region last year.
The report said Black ethnic groups are more affected by STIs than other ethnic groups. Black Caribbeans had the highest rates of new STIs at 1,770 per 100,000, which is three and half times the rate seen in white ethnic groups.
Another PHE recommendation is for Black African men and women to have a regular full HIV and STI screen if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at PHE, said: “The stats for 2014 show that too many people are getting STIs. Reducing this spread must be a public health priority.
“We are particularly concerned about the large rises in diagnoses among gay men nationally. In this group we saw a 46 per cent increase in syphilis and a 32 per cent increase in gonorrhoea. Gonorrhoea in particular is becoming harder to treat as new antibiotic resistant strains emerge.
“Health promotion and education to increase risk awareness and encourage safer sexual behaviour remain the cornerstones of STI prevention. Effective commissioning to ensure easy access to sexual health services and STI screening is a vital component of STI control. Prevention work should continue to focus on people at highest risk of infection, such as young people and gay men.”
STI diagnoses in England by region, area of highest rate and amount per 100,000
East Midlands – Nottingham – 1156
East of England – Peterborough – 887
London – City of London – 3223
North East – Newcastle – 978
North West – Manchester – 1383
South East – Brighton and Hove – 1534
South West – Plymouth – 1062
West Midlands – Coventry – 996
Yorkshire and the Humber – Leeds – 978
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies