Surge in Bristol gonorrhoea cases prompts public health warning

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By Benjamin Salmon, Deputy News Editor

41 per cent of Bristol students say they have never been tested for an STI.

Bristol students are being urged to get checked for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) after new figures revealed that a record number of people in the city are being treated for gonorrhoea.

The Public Health England (PHE) report for 2018 describes 404 new diagnoses for gonorrhoea in the Bristol area compared to 262 in 2017 – a 54.2 per cent increase.

When records began in 2012, there were only 173 new cases that year.

The worrying rise comes amid increasing concern over a new ‘super strain’ of the disease found in a British man in March 2018. It was the first time that the disease was not cured by first-use antibiotics, needing a second round of treatment.

It was then revealed in January 2019 that two more super strain cases had occurred in Britain in late 2018, also requiring multiple rounds of antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea is usually spread through unprotected sex and when left untreated, the disease can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and severe pain in the genital region. It can also be passed on to a child when pregnant.

‘If you have sex with a new or casual partner, make sure you use condoms and get regularly tested.’
Dr Gwenda Hughes, Head of STI Surveillance, Public Health England

A Bristol SU survey in 2018 called ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ revealed that 41 per cent of students said they had never been tested for an STI.

The survey also revealed that 47 per cent were unconcerned about the risk of contracting an STI compared to 39 per cent who said they were.

The city of Bristol actually has the lowest number of adults in the UK who have never been tested for an STI, according to another recent survey by pharmacy Medicine Direct. However, the number is still higher than many health professionals have said is needed.

Head of STI Surveillance at PHE, Dr Gwenda Hughes, said of the report: ‘The rise in sexually transmitted infections is concerning.

‘STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners. No matter what age you are, or what type of relationship you are in, it’s important to look after your sexual health.

‘If you have sex with a new or casual partner, make sure you use condoms and get regularly tested.’

Featured image credit: Pixabay


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