Wigan has been hit by a huge rise in sexually-transmitted infections

The number of people treated for the sexually-transmitted infection gonorrhoea in Wigan has rocketed in the space of a year.
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Lates figures from the UK Health Security Agency show that there were 431 cases recorded in the borough Wigan in 2022: an increase of 256 on the year before, when there were 175.

In 2012, there were 139 cases.

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The number of gonorrhoea cases in Wigan rocketed from 175 to 431 in the space of 12 monthsThe number of gonorrhoea cases in Wigan rocketed from 175 to 431 in the space of 12 months
The number of gonorrhoea cases in Wigan rocketed from 175 to 431 in the space of 12 months

Nationally gonorrhoea cases hit a record high of 82,592 in England (a 50 per cent increase on 2021), while the number of syphilis diagnoses has reached the highest level since just after the Second World War.

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Wigan bucks a trend with the latter statistic though, seeing the number of syphillis cases fall from 28 to 26.

The UKHSA said people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections as it urged those who are having sex with new or casual partners to wear a condom and get tested regularly.

It said STIs are usually easily treated with antibiotics but many can cause serious health issues if left untreated.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, while syphilis can cause potentially life-threatening problems with the brain, heart or nerves.

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“We saw more gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2022 than ever before, with large rises, particularly in young people,” said Dr Hamish Mohammed, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA.

“STIs aren’t just an inconvenience – they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners."

He said condoms were the best defence against STIs, and urged people to get tested if they didn't use one the last time they had sex with a new or casual partner, as many STIs do not show symptoms.

In 2022, there were 2,195,909 diagnostic tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or HIV – 13 per cent more than in 2021.

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The UKHSA said that while the rise in gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses will partly be due to increases in testing, the sharp rise “strongly suggests” there is more transmission of STIs in the population.

Gonorrhoea cases have been recorded since 1918 and the 2022 figure breaks all previous national records.

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