Gay men have 80% of syphilis cases as sex infections soar

Published: June 5, 2013

Gay and bisexual men are making up 79% of all syphilis cases in England and have seen a 37% rise in gonorrhea.
 
They also make up 58% of gonorrhea cases in the country – a total of 10,754 men were diagnosed with the bacteria, known as ‘the clap’, which causes burning pain during urination and discharge from the penis.
 
The new official figures, released today (5 June) come from government agency Public Health England (PHE).
 
They also found ‘men who have sex with men’ make up 17% of chlamydia cases, 11% of genital herpes diagnoses and 9% of all the genital warts diagnosed in sex health clinics.
 
PHE said in a statement: ‘Although partly due to increased testing in this population, ongoing high levels of unsafe sexual behavior probably contributed to this rise.’
 
Throat swab testing has helped doctors discover cases of gonorrhea which otherwise may have been missed.
 
But the figures do show a rise in diagnoses.
 
Among gay and bi men, gonorrhea has soared by 37%, chlamydia and genital warts are 8% higher and syphilis diagnoses have risen by 5%.
 
Gonorrhea in gay men has tripled since 2009.
 
Young heterosexuals, aged under 25, were found to be another high-risk group. But gay and bi men tend to keep having problems in their late 20s, 30s and even into their 50s.
 
Dr Gwenda Hughes, PHE head of Sexually Transmitted Infection surveillance, said: ‘There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.

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