Rise in sexually transmitted infections in young people

STI testing kit

There are concerns that more young people are risking their health by having unsafe sex.

New figures from The Health Protection Agency (HPA) show there's been a 2% increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in England to nearly 427,000 cases.

The biggest increase has been in gonorrhoea.

They say they're especially concerned that not enough 15 to 24-year-olds are getting tested for Chlamydia.

There's been a 4% drop but they say it's because fewer younger adults are going for screenings.

Merle Symonds is Head of Health Advisory Services at Barts and The London NHS Trust.

He said: "There are still so many myths out there about infections such as only women can get certain ones and assumptions about symptoms."

Chlamydia

The latest HPA figures show there are 183,561 cases.

This is just as common for men to get as it is for women.

The main thing to know is there are no signs. That's why accessing testing routinely is really important.

Symptoms for women include some bleeding, either between periods or during or after sex and some lower tummy ache.

Symptoms for men are swelling of the testicles and pain when passing urine.

If it goes untreated, as a woman you can experience infertility later on. In men it can cause joint problems.

Gonorrhoea

Latest HPA figures show there are 20,398 cases.

It can be contracted by vaginal, anal and oral sex.

Symptoms for women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased discharge or bleeding between periods.

Symptoms for men are a burning sensation when urinating, discharge from the penis and painful or swollen testicles.

It can only be treated by an injection but it's becoming a difficult infection to treat.

In the future you may need to be on more than one medication to tackle it.

If left untreated it can cause serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to an ectopic pregnancy in women.

Syphilis

Latest HPA figures show 2,820 cases.

In the past it's been more common for gay men and older people to get this, but increasingly younger people are being tested positive for it.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually passed on through having sex with someone who is already infected.

The symptoms of syphilis are the same for men and women.

They are often mild, which means you can pass on the infection without knowing you have got it.

Some signs include ulcers on the body and a distinctive rash.

Without treatment it can reach its most dangerous phase where loss of coordination, paralysis and blindness are all possible symptoms.

In all cases the message really is to use condoms.