There has been a significant worsening in the sexual health of men who have sex with men in England, new surveillance data released by the Health Protection Agency shows. Infections also remained high among heterosexual young people, aged between 15 and 24. Although the increase in diagnoses is partly attributed to improved testing and surveillance, doctors believe that high rates of unprotected sex are leading to the continued transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). “Health promotion and education remain the cornerstones of STI prevention, through improving awareness and encouraging safer sexual behaviour,” write the investigators. “Men who have sex with men having unprotected sex with casual or new partners should have an HIV/STI screen at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly. Consistent condom use, reducing the number of sexual partners and the avoidance of overlapping sexual relationships all reduce the risk of being infected with an STI.”

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