New data from the Local Government Association shows almost every council in England and Wales has seen a rise in gonorrhoea since 2017 while sexual health services face ‘unprecedented increases in demand’.

Nearly three quarters (71%) of councils have also seen increases in syphilis diagnoses over the same period. We urgently need a clear Government strategy for improving the nation’s sexual health and – crucially – the funding to do it.

‘You get what you pay for and the country’s sexual health services are over-stretched, under strain and at breaking point," said our Chief Executive Richard Angell.

‘While inequalities continue to grow with marginalised groups, including young people, gay and bisexual men and people of Black ethnicity, experiencing the heaviest burden of poor sexual health.

‘How thinly stretched sexual health services are was laid bare in our own Mystery Shopper research which revealed average waiting times of almost two weeks for sexual health appointments at a time when STI rates are sky high. We urgently need a clear strategy and vision for improving the nation’s sexual health from Government, and – crucially – the funding injection for these vital services to make it happen. Without that, there’s no hope of reversing the trend of rocketing STIs.’

‘This data not only demonstrates the deeply concerning trajectory of STI infection growth but also the need for a robust national strategy, backed up by adequate funding," said Dr Claire Dewsnap, President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and Trustee of Terrence Higgins Trust.

‘As demand for care increases, without imminent action, we compromise our ability to safeguard the sexual health of our nation.’