Chlamydia was the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) confirmed in England in 2014, accounting for 47% of all STI diagnoses, according to latest figures from Public Health England (PHE).
Of the 1,664,010 chlamydia tests performed on young people aged 15–24 years, 1% (16,723) were reported to have been conducted by community pharmacies, although the PHE says this figure is likely to be an underestimate. The proportion of positive tests from pharmacies matched the proportion reported overall — 8.3%.
Genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics remain the most common venue for testing. Some 576,808 tests were performed in 2014 leading to 61,508 diagnoses (10.7%).
The detection rate for chlamydia varied across the country and suggest the need for embedding chlamydia screening for young people into a variety of community settings, the PHE report says.
There is also a need to get the message out to 15–24 year olds that they should be tested annually and when they change a sexual partner. People who have had a positive test for chlamydia should also be re-tested after three months in line with revised guidelines for the national screening programme.
The latest STI figures also reveal that the highest rate of increase in infections was for syphilis (33% rise between 2013 and 2014) and gonorrhoea (up 19%). The increase was highest among men who have sex with men, where the confirmed cases of syphilis went up by 46% and gonorrhoea rose by 32%.
The PHE’s head of STI surveillance Gwenda Hughes says these figures are concerning, especially as gonorrhoea is becoming harder to treat because of antibiotic resistance.