United Kingdom sees 20 percent hike in cases of syphilis

GETTYPublic Health England said regular use of condoms will limit the spread of the disease

GETTYPublic Health England said regular use of condoms will limit the spread of the disease

The rise in syphilis and gonorrhea cases in England was balanced out by a decrease in some other infections, including cases of genital warts, which declined 90% since 2009 among 15 to 17 year-olds - thanks to a national immunization program.

However, the total number of all sexually transmitted infections for 2017 (422,000) was around the same number reported in 2016, the statistics revealed.

"Syphilis shows the highest concentration in the Salem area, probably a combination of age ranges and population density; syphilis is typically seen in the 30-50 year range", she explained.

Sexually transmitted infections or STI cases are continuing to be a big problem, especially in England where a number of officials are saying the issue is growing due to budget cuts.

The rise in syphilis follows a ten-year trend, with three-quarters of new diagnoses in gay and bisexual men. PHE England calls this rise as "concerning".

"Additionally, the first detected case of extensively drug resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae with resistance to ceftriaxone and high-level resistance to azithromycin, the two antibiotics used as front-line dual therapy, was detected in the United Kingdom in March 2018". Gonorrhea was fourth on the list with 347 cases in 2016, an increase from only about 60 cases in 2013.

The report reflects a global rise in STIs over the last 10 years.

"There is no time for complacency", said Councillor Izzi Seccombe. "Health inequalities will remain and councils may be unable to respond effectively to unforeseen outbreaks".

"Government must reverse cuts to councils' public health grants because we can not tackle this by stretching services even thinner", she added.

While the exact causes of the spike in cases is unknown, the BBC says STI testing in contraceptive clinics has fallen by 61% since 2015, "which experts say may indicate a squeeze on resources".

The figures showed a drop of 8% in those taking tests for chlamydia. The recommendations also emphasize on high-quality relationships and sex education at schools.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, Consultant Scientist and Head of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Section at PHE, said, "Sexually transmitted infections pose serious consequences to health - both your own and that of your current and future sexual partners".

Consistent and correct condom use with new and casual partners is the best defense against STIs, and if you are at risk, regular check-ups are essential to enable early diagnosis and treatment.

Left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to complications including infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.