The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland recently published the surveillance data for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Northern Ireland for the calendar year 2018. The data for the report was sourced from genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics across Northern Ireland.
Key findings from the report are as follows:
- There was a 6 per cent rise in the overall number of new STIs reported across GUM clinics in 2018 compared with 2017.
- Females aged 16-24 years and males aged 20-34 years had the highest diagnostic rates of the common STIs. Individuals aged 16-34 years account for ~80 per cent of new STIs.
- New diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes simplex (first episode) and infectious syphilis increased by 6 per cent, 30 per cent, 8 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively, in 2018 compared with that in 2017.
- New diagnoses of genital warts (first episode) decreased by 10 per cent in 2018 from the previous year.
- Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 79 per cent of male infectious syphilis, 72 per cent of male gonorrhoea, 18 per cent of male herpes and 29 per cent of male chlamydia infections.
The report calls for stronger promotion of safer sex messages among the general population, young people and MSM to tackle the increasing trend of STIs in Northern Ireland.