Study: Gonorrhoea cases among HIV positive gay men continue to rise

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Research from Public Health England (PHE) has found over a quarter of people with gonorrhoea also had HIV reaching 40% amongst men who have sex with men (MSM).

61% of men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 3,103 of diagnosed gonorrhoea cases in sexual health clinics in England between July – September 2012.

Total new gonorrhoea diagnoses in England jumped 21% to 25,525 cases in 2012.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, PHE head of sexually transmitted infections surveillance, said: “Reducing gonorrhoea transmission is also essential, because for every case we prevent we eliminate the associated risk of treatment failure.

“However, in 2012 we saw another large rise in new gonorrhoea diagnoses, and are particularly concerned about the high infection rates amongst men who have sex with men, and young adults in some urban areas. These findings reinforce the importance of continued sexual health promotion work and maintaining easy access to sexual health services and testing in England.”

Efforts to tackle emerging resistant strains of gonorrhoea, which have caused concern among health experts, are beginning to have a small effect in tackling the problem.

Although gay and bisexual men remain at disproportionate risk from gonorrhoea and campaigners say the rates of HIV co-infection are particularly worrying.