Health officials are promoting urgent gonorrhoea tests after cases soar

Since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions health experts have reported cases of gonorrhoea in England have surged since people have become sexually active again.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have reported today that diagnoses of the sexually transmitted disease in the first nine months of 2022 hit 56,327 – 21% higher than for the same period in 2019.

person holding white and red plastic pack

Provisional data also indicates that during the first nine months of 2022, gonorrhoea cases were higher than those reported over the same period in the last three years.

Following these shocking statistics, health experts are now encouraging people to practice safe sex and get tested regularly if they are having sex with more than one person.

Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge coming from a person’s genitals, however it is also possible some people will experience no symptoms which is why is it important to be tested.

Symptoms are less likely to show if they infection reaches the throat, vagina or rectum.

Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is spread by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex without a condom – an untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.

Dr Thomas Waite, the government’s deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: ‘Having safe sex and getting tested regularly is important to keep you and your sexual partners safe.

‘Condoms and early detection are absolutely fundamental in preventing and addressing the rise in cases we are currently seeing of gonorrhoea. Cases can be diagnosed and easily treated with antibiotics.’

The UKHSA have also claimed young people aged 15-24-years-old remain the most likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease due to more frequent changes in sexual partners.

Dr Claire Dewsnap, from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: ‘The rise in gonorrhoea cases provides an important reminder of the importance of testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and wearing a condom every time you have sex.

‘By getting tested at least once a year, regardless of whether you’re showing symptoms, you can help minimise the risk of catching or passing on STIs when having sex.

‘Delaying access to the right care and treatment also risks developing longer term problems which can be more difficult to address. If you are concerned about STI transmission, sexual health clinics are on hand to help.’

Image: Dainis Graveris


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