LONDON, June 14, 2013 ( – Public Health England has warned that the nation is experiencing a torrent of new cases of sexually transmitted infections, with nearly half-a-million new cases reported in 2012.

STDs increased by five percent last year, with the PHE putting the new numbers down to “improved data collection.”

Dr. Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance, said, “There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before.”


“The continuing high STI rates in England,” the PHE said, “suggest too many people are still putting themselves at risk through unsafe sex, especially young adults and men who have sex with men (MSM).”

They named chlamydia as the most commonly diagnosed STD, with 206,912 last year or 46 percent of all new cases.

They also noted “considerable” numbers of genital warts caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV) (73,893; or 16 percent) and genital herpes (32,021; 7 percent). New gonorrhea diagnoses rose 21 percent overall (from 21,024 in 2011 to 25,525 in 2012), and by 37 percent in the MSM population (to 10,754), the report said.

The highest rates of STDs were diagnosed among those under 25, with 64 percent of all chlamydia and 54 percent of genital warts diagnoses in heterosexuals in 2012, the report said.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, a homosexual campaign group, responded to the report saying that the danger is even more serious than the government was admitting. Lisa Power, Policy Director at THT, described Britain’s “sexual health” as being on a “slippery slope.”

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“The 21 percent increase in gonorrhea across England is particularly dangerous in the context of new reports of drug-resistant strains of the infection,” she said. It is “vital” that young people learn to use condoms when they are having sex, as well as “valuing the importance of healthy relationships.”
“We know that targeted prevention measures work, because the HPV vaccination program is beginning to have an impact on diagnoses of warts, and new gonorrhea swab tests are driving down undiagnosed oral infection,” she stated. “We need more of this, alongside improved relationships & sex education, and a strengthened national chlamydia screening program.”

While it is now rarely openly acknowledged in the media, public health experts have long understood that gay men are more prone as a group to contracting STDs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that STDs “have been increasing among gay and bisexual men,” in the United States, including increases in reported cases of syphilis.

The CDC, however, did not say that condoms are the answer: “The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

“Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms reduces the risk of STD transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. There is also a vaccine available to prevent HPV in females and males,” the CDC warned.

An article in the Evening Standard last week described London as the “sex disease capital” of Europe. It quoted the PHE report, citing the borough of Lambeth – notable as the home of the headquarters of the Church of England – as the worst for sexually transmitted diseases, particularly in cases of gonorrhoea that was up 27 percent since last year. A total of 111,451 new cases of STDs were diagnosed in London last year, up nine percent since last year.

Since the 1960s, it is widely acknowledged that Britain has been among the countries of the Western world to have most heavily invested, culturally and socially, in the Sexual Revolution. Sex pervades television programming and is explained in detail to children in primary schools where school nurses can give students contraception without parent’s knowledge of consent.

Socially, British people, particularly in the urban centres, are among the most “liberated” in Europe in their attitudes towards sex, as evidenced both by the extravagance of London’s annual “Gay Pride” festival – one of the largest in the world – and the ubiquity with which the new term “partner” pervades the speech of ordinary people describing their unmarried sexual liaisons.

While government and the educational establishment, and to a large degree even the Christian Churches, have accepted and accommodated themselves to this new societal norm, apparently insurmountable problems related to sexuality increasingly plague the country.

In recent years, newspaper reports have frequently named Britain as both the “abortion capital” of the Western world and the home of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies. Nearly half of the children in Britain are born out of wedlock, a number that has risen by more than 50 percent since 1991.

Apart from the steady increase in rates of sexually transmitted diseases, rates of marriage have fallen to their lowest levels since records began, according to the Office for National Statistics. In 2007 in England and Wales, 231,450 couples were wed, a decrease of 3.3 percent from 2006 and 34 percent since 1981.