Yorkshire sees huge rise in rates of gonorrhoea and other sexually transmitted infections, according to official data

Some sexually transmitted infections have risen as much as 60 per cent in Yorkshire in just one year, according to official data.

Testing for gonorrhoea has got better

Cases of gonorrhoea have gone up from 5,425 in 2018 to 8,816 in 2019, in the region, with people aged 25-34 responsible for the most cases and the biggest rise.

Positive tests for the infection have more than doubled in Yorkshire since 2015, when there were only 2,499 cases.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Yorkshire is considered the unfortunate home of what is known as “Leeds super gonorrhoea”, a strain that broke out in 2015 and cannot be treated with conventional treatments.

Across the whole of England, there were 70,936 diagnoses of gonorrhoea reported in 2019, a 26 per cent increase since 2018.

Public Health England, which released the stats, said the startling rise in the rates of gonorrhoea is partly explained by more testing and better quality tests, however, treatments are becoming less effective.

Despite rising cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia was still the most common STI, with 21,984 cases in the region, nearly half of those in the 20-24 age category.

Though cases of syphilis in Yorkshire were falling, they were on the rise among over 65s.

Dr Hamish Mohammed, STI lead at Public Health England, said: “The considerable rise of gonorrhoea cases in England, as well as the continued rise of other STIs, is concerning. It is important to emphasise that STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners.

“We have seen that gonorrhoea has become more resistant to antibiotics and expect to see further cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea in the future, which will be challenging for healthcare professionals to manage.

“The consistent and correct use of condoms with new and casual sexual partners is the best defence against all STIs. If you have had sex without a condom with a new or casual partner, you should get tested.”

Many of the new cases of super gonorrhea are contracted outside the UK while Brits are on holiday.

A European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report published last year stated: "The control of gonorrhoea depends on primary prevention, including promoting safer sex practices (in particular the use of condoms), regular testing of individuals at risk as well as treatment with effective antibiotics to reduce the chance of further transmission.

"Even a small change in drug resistance may have a broader impact as those infected can continue to transmit the infection without knowing.”