STIs? More like STOntherise! According to new figures from Public Health England, Londoners account for a quarter of all cases of STIs in the UK and 18 of the 20 boroughs with the highest STI levels in the land are within the M25. Hackney grabbed the headlines last year as it was revealed that its 15- to 24-year-olds had the highest rate of chlamydia in the UK, but this time around it's Lambeth and Southwark who head up the league table. So, east London's dead and everybody's moving south. We knew that anyway, so what else do the new figures show us?
Chlamydia made up almost half of all cases last year with 200,000 diagnoses, despite the mass availability of tests. Even though STI rates have dropped on a national scale, experts believe this could now be due to a lack of people getting screened.
Genital warts are out with a 7 percent decrease, but gonorrhoea is very much in, with an alarming 53 percent rise in the last three years. The vast majority of these new infections occurred in men having sex with men, something that concerned Genevieve Edwards of Marie Stopes UK. "These statistics should set alarm bells ringing about the availability of sexual health services for young people and men who have sex with men," Edwards said in a statement.
Syphilis goes one better though, trumping gonorrhoea by an extra 23% over the same timescale. Public Health England again indicated that men having sex with men were most likely to be affected by the increase and put it down to 'high levels of condomless sex'. No prizes for guessing what the report and the experts are calling for, then – condom use and tests when seeing a new or casual partner, plus annual chlamydia screenings for all those 25 and unders who are sexually active. Yeah, so, basically: rubber up.