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Almost a third of sexually transmitted infections in England were registered in London

Almost a third of sexually transmitted infections in England were registered in London

Almost a third of the sexually transmitted infections recorded last year occurred in London, figures released on Wednesday showed. The capital has also seen a sharp rise in cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis.

An analysis of figures from the UK Health Safety Authority by the Standard shows that 32 percent of all STIs in England in 2023 were reported in the capital.

The total number of newly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases in the capital rose by 28 percent last year compared to 2021, the figures show.

Syphilis cases in London have risen by 23 percent in three years and now account for almost half (46 percent) of all infections in England. The number of gonorrhoea infections in the capital has also increased by 40 percent in the same period.

Overall, figures show that 401,800 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in England in 2023 – an increase of 4.7 percent since 2022.

Almost half of these were chlamydia cases (194,970 cases were diagnosed in 2023).

The figures also showed that the number of syphilis diagnoses increased proportionally more among heterosexual men and women than among gay and bisexual men.

Richard Angell, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the STI figures were a “wake-up call” for the government.

He said: “It is no surprise that the lowest spending on sexual health has led to the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections… Sexual health services are doing even more with even less. Demand for services has increased again this year, while public health funding has been cut by 40% in real terms since 2015/15.”

Dr Claire Dewsnap, chair of the British Association for Sexual Health and its HIV, Women and Equalities Committee, said in January that sexual health services in England were “on the verge of crisis” and clinics were being forced to ration the amount of free condoms they gave out.

She said many clinics have to ration free condoms.

“People use them when they are available for free and they continue to ask for them,” she told WEC.

“But in many hospitals, unfortunately – as terrible as it sounds – we ration the amount we administer.”

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), the figures show that the next government should implement a ten-year sexual health strategy.

The association, which represents councils responsible for commissioning sexual health services, said a long-term strategy was needed to prevent and treat infections.

David Fothergill of the LGA said: “Councils want to continue to encourage more people to attend their local sexual health clinic, particularly in hard-to-reach communities.

“However, today’s figures show that demand for sexual health services continues to grow.

“That is why we are calling for a new ten-year strategy to combat infection rates and ensure adequate long-term funding and resources for sexual health services.”