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Gonorrhoea diagnoses reach new annual high


Public Health Agency

Type: News
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

The number of diagnoses of uncomplicated gonorrhoea in 2012 is the highest ever recorded in Northern Ireland, new figures released today by the Public Health Agency (PHA) show. The Sexually transmitted infection surveillance in Northern Ireland 2013 report shows there were 451 new episodes of uncomplicated gonorrhoea diagnosed in Northern Ireland Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics in 2012, compared with 336 in 2011, an increase of 34%. The increase can be attributed to a combination of more sensitive testing; an increase in the number of people tested and increased unsafe sex activity.Gonorrhoea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) and, untreated, can enter the bloodstream or spread to the joints. In women it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. An infected pregnant woman may pass the infection to her baby during delivery. There is a growing worldwide problem of gonorrhoea becoming resistant to antibiotics. Dr Neil Irvine, a Health Protection Consultant with the PHA said: "Between 2010 and 2012, diagnoses of uncomplicated gonorrhoea have more than doubled, from 200 in 2010 to 451 in 2012. The increase has been seen in both heterosexuals and in men who have sex with men (MSM).  "This would suggest that the newer, more sensitive tests introduced in recent years are showing that prevalence was higher than previously thought. However, there is also likely to be increased transmission due to unsafe sex, given that infectious syphilis and HIV diagnoses have also increased in recent years."The PHA is stressing that the risk of getting or transmitting an STI can be reduced by:·         always using a condom when having sex with casual and new partners;·         getting tested if at risk;·         MSM having unprotected sex with casual or new partners should have an HIV/STI screen at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly;·         reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.The report can be found at information on GUM clinics can be found here.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Public Health Agency. (2013) Gonorrhoea diagnoses reach new annual high [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 26th June 2019].


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