Figures published by Public Health England (PHE) today show that once again that Britain’s gay and bi men’s sexual health is heading into a crisis.
Figures released by PHE today show that in total there were 434,456 sexually transmitted infections reported in England in 2015. Well over 10 per cent of those (54, 275) were from gay and bisexual men. The greatest impact age group for those presenting sexual transmitted infections is within the 25 and under age bracket.
The increase of 54,275 gay and bisexual men reporting sexual transmitted infections represents a 10 per cent increase on 2014’s statistics.
Overall there was a small decrease, around three per cent, in reports for the entire population, but gay and bisexual men bucked that trend.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at PHE said,
“The new statistics show STI rates are still very high among gay men and young adults.
“We need to do more to raise awareness about STIs and how they can be prevented, especially the effectiveness of using condoms. We recommend that anyone having sex with a new or casual partner uses condoms and tests regularly for HIV and STIs. It is also vital to ensure there is easy access to STI testing and treatment services that meet the needs of local populations.”
NHS England came under intense criticism earlier this year when it “washed its hands” on providing PrEP for the gay and bisexual community. It announced it was removing the anti-HIV drug known as PrEP from the the official commissioning process.
The PHE have reiterated their advice for sexually active men, suggesting,
Consistent and correct use of condoms can significantly reduce risk of infection and regular testing for HIV and STIs is essential for good sexual health.
Anyone under 25 who is sexually active should be screened for chlamydia annually, and on change of sexual partner. Gay and bisexual men should test annually for HIV and STIs and every 3 months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.
THEGAYUK runs an online Q&A sexual health service for free – ask your questions anonymously here.