Public Health England is encouraging English teens and young adults to use more condoms to arrest the increasing occurrence of Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
More than 144,000 people aged between 15 and 24 were diagnosed with the two STD’s last year. This is an average of 400 a day and one person infected every 4 minutes in England.
The record shows a 22 percent increase in gonorrhea diagnosis between 2016 and 2017.
‘STIs present a real threat to young people, and without using condoms, young people are putting themselves and their partners at risk of getting an STI,’ said Dr. Hamish Mohammed, Consultant STI Scientist at PHE.
The figures were mentioned alongside a campaign by PHE encouraging young people to use more condoms.
‘Often STI’s don’t have any symptoms, with four in 10 cases of chlamydia in women and around half of the cases in men symptomless, and they can have serious consequences,’ said Dr. Sara Kayat, a general practitioner at Gray’s Inn Medical Practice in London.
‘Rates of STIs remain high in young people, and we want to make sure people know that the best way to protect themselves from getting an STI is to use a condom,” Kayat said.
The report showed STI diagnoses stayed steady from the previous year with chlamydia making up half of the 422,147 cases recorded.
Syphilis was found to be at their highest level since 1949.
‘The statistics are really concerning,’ said Cynthia Graham, professor of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton. ‘There has been for many years now a push towards long-acting reversible contraception, which are highly effective methods of contraception – but they don’t protect at all, of course, against STIs,’ she said.
‘There hasn’t been the same attention in the UK towards STIs that there have been toward unintended pregnancies,’ she added. ‘There should be a lot more attention paid to condom distribution.’
Graham revealed the most common excuses given by young people for not using condoms often were reduced sensation and a gendered perception about their use.
‘It’s still seen as a stigma for women to carry condoms. I find it amazing in 2018, that’s still around,’ she said.