The number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being spread among men who have sex with men (MSMs) is soaring, despite declining across England as a whole.
Figures from Public Health England showed there was 46% increase in syphilis infections last year among MSMs, as well as a 32% rise in gonorrhoea and 26% in chlamydia.
The trust added that in general, there were "high levels of condomless sex" and "rapid" transmission of other STIs in HIV-positive men, the BBC
The shocking statistics come despite that fact that across all groups as a whole, the number of new STIs actually fell last year by 0.3% from the previous year, to 439,243 new cases.
Among MSMs however, increasese were seen in all major infections:
- Syphilis infections increased from 2,375 to 3,477
- Gonorrhoea increased from 13,629 to 18,029
- Chlamydia diagnoses increased from 9,118 to 11,468
- Genital warts increased by 10% from 3,156 to 3,456
The report explained that unprotected sex "probably account for most of this rise", but it also highlighted the rapid spread of infections "in dense sexual networks of HIV-positive men who have sex with men".
Dr Gwenda Hughes, the head of STI surveillance at Public Health England, said: "The stats published today show that too many people are getting STIs, reducing this spread must be a public health priority.
"We are particularly concerned about the large rises in diagnoses among gay men."
She added: "Health promotion and education to increase risk awareness and encourage safer sexual behaviour remain the cornerstones of STI prevention.
"Ensuring easy access to sexual health services and STI screening is a vital component in the control of STIs."
Public Health England advises that MSMs to undergo HIV and STI testing every year, or every three months if they have sex without a condom or with casual partners.
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