The clap is back: Gonorrhea and syphilis cases increase in Redbridge

STIs are on the rise in Redbridge. Picture: Niall Carson

STIs are on the rise in Redbridge. Picture: Niall Carson - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

An extra 778 people were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease in Redbridge per 100,000 residents, according to Public Health England data.

There were 329 new cases of gonorrhea in 2018, up from 278 the previous year, and a further 27 cases of syphilis, increasing from seven.

Chlamydia figures were not released in the data set.

Health experts have put the trend down to new sexual habits linked to the use of dating apps, as well as public budget cuts in sexual health services.

Dr Mark Lawton, from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: "The use of dating apps is likely to be contributing to the increase in STIs seen, along with general changes in attitudes to sex.

"This is happening at a time when we're seeing significant cuts to funding of sexual health services, affecting access to timely testing and treatment and creating a 'perfect storm'."

One Ilford resident, who has had been dating for 12 years and contracted chlamydia, said the millennial generation should be renamed to "boys who mess you up generation".

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"I don't know if it is a cultural thing but there seems to be a new generation of men who don't want commitment," the Ilford resident, 29 said.

"They promise you they are in it but then don't ever commit and keep it vague.

"The 1950s was a simpler time - you were either together or not together, all this grey area combined with social media creates lots of opportunity for linking up and casual sex and not a lot of opportunity for love."

Debbie Laycock, head of policy and public affairs at the Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity working on HIV and other STI prevention, said urgent action is needed from the government.

"We are yet again seeing soaring rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea, and increases in the number of people attending sexual health services, which is happening against a backdrop of central government stripping £700 million from public health budgets in the last five years.

"There is now a real risk to widening health inequalities already faced by certain groups.

"Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, young people, people living with HIV and gay and bisexual men are once again disproportionately affected by new STI rates. gay and bisexual men, for example, accounted for 75per cent of new syphilis cases."