A reduction in testing of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) amid disruption to sexual health services has led to a 32 per cent fall in diagnoses in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Despite the fall in diagnoses, the latest data released by Public Health England (PHE) revealed that STI diagnoses overall remained high.

In 2020, sexual health services continued to diagnose STIs via telephone and internet consultations and face-to-face consultation in some complex cases. However, compared to 2019, consultations at sexual health services decreased by 10 per cent in 2020.

The data noted a 25 per cent fall in sexual health tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or HIV.

Meanwhile, the highest rates of STI diagnoses were still seen in young people 15 to 24 years; people of Black ethnicity; and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Dr Katy Sinka, head of Sexually Transmitted Infections section at PHE, said: “No one wants to swap social distancing for an STI, and as we enjoy the fact that national Covid-19 restrictions have lifted, it’s important that we continue to look after our sexual health and wellbeing.”

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