In 2021 a complete of 311,604 new STIs have been identified in England, a rise of 1,683 in comparison with 2020.
Whereas nonetheless decrease than pre-COVID-19 pandemic ranges, the general variety of STIs newly identified in England stays excessive, so it’s essential to get examined and prescribed efficient therapy if wanted. Ignoring STIs can result in long run issues, resembling infertility.
Right here we summarise the important thing findings from our report Sexually transmitted infections and screening for chlamydia in England, 2021, and focus on we have to know to grasp the dangers, together with some easy steps we are able to take to remain in good sexual well being.
Who’s most liable to STIs?
Everybody who has condomless intercourse with new or informal companions is liable to catching an STI.
As in earlier years, the very best charges of STI diagnoses have been seen in homosexual, bisexual and different males who’ve intercourse with males (GBMSM); younger folks 15 to 24 years; and other people of Black ethnicity.
In comparison with folks 25 and older, younger folks aged 15 to 24 years stay on the highest danger of the most typical STIs, and this may be due to more frequent changes of sexual partners.
Whereas the quantity (133,342) of recent STI diagnoses in 2021 amongst younger folks aged 15 to 24 years decreased total by 5.8% in comparison with 2020, reductions in testing in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic could also be behind this, prompting considerations that extra infections may unknowingly be going untreated.
STI diagnoses in GBMSM elevated between 2020 and 2021 – together with diagnoses of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
Diagnoses of gonorrhoea elevated by 9.0%, from 24,784 to 27,123, chlamydia elevated by 5.5%, from 14,191 to 14,980, and diagnoses of infectious syphilis elevated by 2.6%, from 5,118 to five,254.
In comparison with different ethnic teams, the charges of STI diagnoses remained highest amongst folks of Black Caribbean ethnicity in 2021.
Previous research has found no distinctive medical or behavioural elements explaining the upper charges of STI diagnoses amongst folks of Black Caribbean ethnicity. This disparity is probably going influenced by underlying social and financial elements and the function they play within the well being inequalities skilled by this group.
HIV – what’s the newest information telling us?
In 2021, new HIV diagnoses rose by 1%, to 2,955, with will increase seen in GBMSM and heterosexual and bisexual girls.
The proportion of these identified late rose from 44% to 46%. The rise in late diagnoses is probably going a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in lowered numbers of individuals testing in 2020, affecting heterosexual women and men particularly.
HIV testing is the route into accessing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which has been confirmed to cut back HIV transmission. In case you are identified with HIV, therapy is efficient and other people identified promptly can anticipate lengthy, wholesome lives.
Efficient therapy of HIV results in undetectable ranges of virus, which additionally means HIV can’t be handed on by means of intercourse (“undetectable= untransmittable” or “U=U”).
How can I shield myself towards STIs?
STIs can pose critical penalties to your personal well being and that of your present or future sexual companions.
Utilizing condoms is essential to forestall unfold of STIs and HIV, and is a key instrument in taking care of our sexual well being and wellbeing.
In case you are having intercourse with new or informal companions, use a condom and get examined – when you’ve got any uncommon signs, don’t have intercourse till you might be examined.
Get examined recurrently for STIs
Common testing for STIs and HIV is important to take care of good sexual well being.
Everybody ought to get an STI display together with an HIV take a look at a minimum of annually if having condomless intercourse with new or informal companions – even when they don’t have any signs.
These liable to STIs and HIV can entry testing by means of sexual well being providers.
Many providers supply on-line testing, which suggests folks can order self-sampling kits utilizing sexual well being providers’ web sites, take them within the privateness of their very own dwelling, ship them off to a laboratory for testing and obtain outcomes both by textual content, cellphone name or publish.
Native sexual well being providers may be discovered on-line at NHS.UK.
If I take a look at optimistic for an STI, the place do I get therapy?
Sexual well being providers are free and confidential and supply therapy in addition to testing for HIV and STIs.
Sexual well being providers additionally present condoms, vaccination, HIV PrEP, and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Data and recommendation about sexual well being together with how you can entry providers is on the market at Sexwise and from the nationwide sexual well being helpline on 0300 123 7123.