The latest figures from Public Health England have revealed there were 5,198 new cases of STIs discovered by doctors in Bristol in 2018.
That’s up from 4,545 cases in 2017, and is the highest number of new diagnoses recorded in the city since at least 2012, when the figures begin.
It works out as 113 new STIs for every 10,000 people living in Bristol – the highest rate in the South West.
In 2017, that dubious honor went to Plymouth.
The rate in Bristol is also much higher than the national average.
Across England, there were 436,260 new diagnoses last year, or 78 for every 10,000 people.
That was up from 74 for every 10,000 in 2017 – the first rise seen in several years.
Experts say the increase is happening against a backdrop of funding cuts, and warn that in some areas resources are so stretched that people are being turned away from sexual health services.
Debbie Laycock, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The latest STI statistics underlines the urgency of action to improve the state of the nation’s sexual health.
“Sexual health services are oversubscribed in many parts of the country with resources unable to match demand, resulting in people being turned away from being seen.
“This cannot continue and is why we’ve worked with local government and clinicians to press government to properly fund services.
“The impact of slashing funding was laid bare by MPs in a report on sexual health, which highlighted there is now a real risk of widening health inequalities already faced by certain groups.
“BAME communities, young people, people living with HIV and gay and bisexual men continue to experience the highest share of new STIs.
“We need targeted interventions so everyone can enjoy good sexual health.
“The government must get a grip of rising STIs and outline a plan of action through a nationwide sexual health strategy that is matched with sustainable funding.”
Nationally, new diagnoses of STIs are on the rise after years of improvement, driven in particular by significant increases in new cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis.
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