STIs on the rise with antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea – the region’s hotspots

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise in Greater Manchester – particularly in Manchester which has one of the highest rates in the country.

New figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal there were 23,083 new cases of STIs diagnosed across the region last year.

That’s up from 23,010 cases in 2018, and 21,469 the year before that.

Experts say the ‘concerning’ rise – revealed by figures compiled by Reach PLC’s Data Unit – is partly down to antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea, with further cases likely in the future.

New cases of gonorrhoea are up 14 per cent in the area in the last year from 3,035 to 3,450, while syphilis is up by 16 per cent – with the number of new diagnoses rising from 458 in 2018 to 529 in 2019.

Cases of herpes are up 8pc from 1,515 to 1,638, while cases of chlamydia are up only slightly from 11,430 to 11,447.

Whereas cases of warts are down 14pc from 2,948 to 2,549.

The figures show Manchester has the highest rate of newly diagnosed STIs in Greater Manchester – and one of the highest rates in the country.

The 7,942 new cases diagnosed in the city in 2019 works out as 144 for every 10,000 people, which compares to 52 new cases for every 10,000 people in places like Stockport.

It’s also nearly twice as high as the national average.

Syphilis bacteria
Syphilis bacteria
(Image: Getty Images)

PHE said the overall rise in STIs is likely to be due to people not using condoms correctly and consistently with new and casual partners, as well as an increase in testing.

Across England, there were 468,342 new diagnoses last year, or 83 for every 10,000 people.

The number of new STIs diagnosed nationally is up from 447,522 cases in 2018 – and a significant increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses in particular has prompted health officials to warn of the need to practise safe sex.

Dr Hamish Mohammed, national lead for sexually transmitted infection surveillance 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.”

Gonorrhoea bacteria
Gonorrhoea bacteria
(Image: PA)

Rate of STIs in Greater Manchester

The below list says the number of diagnoses per borough in 2019, and then the rate per 10,000 people.

Manchester – 7,942, 144
Salford – 3,182, 123
Tameside – 1,545, 68
Oldham – 1,542, 65
Trafford – 1,526, 64
Bury – 1,145, 60
Rochdale – 1,296, 58
Wigan – 1,856, 56
Bolton – 1,538, 53
Stockport – 1,511, 51
England – 468,342, 83

Those at risk of STIs can still access services through sexual health clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many clinics offer online testing, which means people can order tests using clinic websites, take them in the privacy of their own home and send kits off to a laboratory for testing, and receive results via text, phone call or post.

|Ma Evening Post