London has highest rate of STIs in the United Kingdom according to Public Health England who report over 400,000 new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in 2015.
London was responsible for 1 in 4 of all new cases of STIs detected. That’s over 100,000 sexually transmitted infections in one city in one year.
Of the top 20 local authorities in England with the highest rates of STIs, 16 were in the capital.
London Has The Highest Rate Of STIs In The U.K
Despite a national decrease in infections, London maintained a 2% increase in STIs between 2014 and 2015. The prevalence of gonorrhea has risen by 21% and syphilis has risen by 19%.
This may be partly due to an increased awareness around sexual health testing, Public Health England have said “high levels of condom-less sex account for a large amount of this rise.”
The chance of contracting an STI in London is considerably higher than any other UK city with a rate of infections that is 65% higher than the national average.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England says “Worsening sexual health is one of the biggest public health concerns facing London and it is very worrying to see another year where STIs have increased in the capital.”
See below for a list of UK cities ranked by amount of new STI diagnoses in 2015:
Brighton and Hove
Public Health England publishes data showing diagnoses and other sexual and reproductive health outcomes by local area which can be accessed here.
Who Is At Risk Of Contracting An STI?
If you are having unprotected sex, your sexual health is at risk. The impact of sexually transmitted infections remains greatest in young people and in men who have sex with men (MSM).
Men who have gay or bisexual relationships are advised to undergo HIV and STI tests at least once a year, or every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
Young people aged between 15 to 24-year-olds are the most high risk demographic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.K study, 15-24 year olds accounted for 62% of those diagnosed with chlamydia, 52% with gonorrhoea, 51% with genital warts, and 41% with genital herpes in 2015.
MSM living in London have particularly poor sexual health, accounting for less than 2% of the adult population but nearly 25% of the new STI infections.
Gay and bisexual men represented 9 in 10 Syphilis infections and 7 in 10 cases of Gonorrhoea in GUM clinics in the city.
HIV is also a growing concern in the capital with 1 in 12 MSM in London living with the virus. 5, 512 people were diagnosed with HIV in England in 2015. 47% of these were in London. The symptoms of H.I.V are often subtle making the prevalence of HIV a growing concern in the U.K and further afield.
Worried you may have contracted an STI?
Remember that you don’t have to live in the city with the highest rate of STIs in the UK to catch one! Risky sexual behaviour, multiple partners and not using protection are the main things that put you at risk. Always use condoms and make sure you are getting an STI test whenever you change sexual partner. It's also important to be aware of the fact that you don't need to have sex to catch an STI.
Regardless of what city you live in, if you think you might have been exposed to an STI, the most important thing is to get checked.
If you do have a sexually transmitted infection, getting checked early and accessing treatment is key for your health and to make sure you don’t pass the infection on to someone else.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley