Chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections on the rise in the UK

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise among young people who still fail to practice safe sex.

Chlamydia is the most common and diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the UK, along with gonorrhoea in men and women under the age of 25.

According to Public Health England(PHE), last year alone, 448,422 people were diagnosed with STI’s which was up five per cent from 2011, and chlamydia alone made up 46 per cent of the total of STIs diagnosed.

While gonorrhoea is rapidly becoming the fastest spreading sexually transmitted infection and the numbers were up a scary 21 per cent.

Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, which is found in the semen of men and the vaginal fluids of women who have the infection and is known as a ‘silent’ infection.

Most infected people with chlamydia have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may not appear until several weeks after exposure and if untreated can have serious long-term health effects and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which may lead to infertility.

In men the infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testis, causing pain, fever, and, rarely, preventing a man from being able to father children.

Health officials recommend yearly chlamydia testing for all sexually active adults age 25 or younger and gay men should also be tested for chlamydia each year. While those who have multiple and/or anonymous sex partners should be tested more frequently.

Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It was also known as "the clap".

If treated early, gonorrhoea is unlikely to lead to any complications or long-term problems. However, without treatment it can spread to other parts of your body and cause serious problems, including infertility, and in men it can cause inflammation of the joints and tendons, skin lesions and inflammation around the brain and spinal cord and the heart, which can be fatal.

If you're under 25 you can get a free and confidential chlamydia test through the NHS National Chlamydia Screening Programme and if you result positive you’ll be treated with antibiotics, while gonorrhea treatment can be carried out at a GUM - local genitourinary clinic ).

The only way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections is wearing a condom during sex, including anal and oral sex.

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