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Latest STI figures show young people remain most affected group















Figures released by Public Health England today show that young people aged under 25 continue to be the group most affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Compared to people aged 25 – 59, STI diagnosis rates in under 25s are twice as high in men and seven times higher in women.

The most commonly diagnosed STIs in 2016 were: 

  • chlamydia (128,098; 62% of all diagnoses)
  • gonorrhoea (8,941; 50% of all diagnoses)
  • genital warts (28,555; 49% of all diagnoses)
  • genital herpes (12,412; 42% of all diagnoses) 

One piece of good news for young people is the continued drop in the genital warts diagnosis rate, which we can link to the HPV vaccination programme which was introduced in 2008.

Across all age groups, the figures continue to show a greater impact among young people and men who have sex with men.

The figures also show that the total number of new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in England, in all age groups, decreased by 4% in 2016, with approximately 420,000 diagnoses. On the face of it, this may sound like a good thing but as Brook's Medical Director Anatole Menon-Johansson explained: 


"We’re not surprised by these figures but we are disappointed. Not only have rates remained high, but there seems to have been a reduction in testing. 

Take chlamydia for example, the commonest STI among young people. Testing rates are down from 1.5 million tests performed in 2015 to 1.4 million in 2016.

Sexual health funding has been the victim of savage cuts over recent years, which has reduced access to testing. 

We urge the government and local authorities not to ignore these worrying trends and to work with organisations like Brook to increase access to testing for under 25s. It is a reminder of the real need for dedicated young people’s services, which are being compromised by the drive to commission seemingly cost-effective, all-age services. In the long run, this will cost more than it saves.”


Brook is absolutely committed to championing access to services for young people and will doing so by increasing access to through online ordering of home testing kits, outreach services and through online tools that will help connect young people to their nearest services.

Brook is also pleased to see that a key recommendation from Public Health England is ‘statutory, high-quality relationship and sex education’ to equip young people with ‘the skills to improve their sexual health and overall wellbeing.’ Brook will continue to passionately campaign for this and support the Department for Education in their work to develop comprehensive guidelines for sex and relationships education, ahead of it achieving statutory status in 2019.

Brook's Find a service tool can help you find your local sexual health services for free testing and treatment.



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Source of all statistics: Public Health England, Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): annual data tables 

A note on the bulleted statistics above:

  • The data for chlamydia represents chlamydia diagnoses among young people of all groups, as a percentage of all diagnoses and is taken from pg 5 of this report
  • The data for gonorrhoea represents diagnoses among heterosexual young people only, as a percentage of heterosexual diagnoses and is taken from pg 65 of this report
  • The data for genital warts represents diagnoses among heterosexual young people only, as a percentage of heterosexual diagnoses and is taken from pg 125 of this report
  • The data for herpes represents diagnoses among heterosexual young people only, as a percentage of heterosexual diagnoses and is taken from pg 85 of this report

For media enquiries please contact Brook's press office on 07789 682831 or email press@brook.org.uk

Notes to editors

Brook believes that young people should have access to great sexual health services and wellbeing support.

Brook provides free and confidential sexual health information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and counselling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and education programmes, reaching nearly 235,000 young people nationwide every year.
Read our Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and learn more about the difference we make in our latest Success Report.