UK facing explosion of gonorrhoea cases when lockdown ends, top doctors warn

Doctors fear there will be a huge boom in the number of people being diagnosed with gonorrhoea once lockdowns finally end in the UK.

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) President Dr John McSorley has expressed fears of an epidemic taking hold of London once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control.

The STI expert also worries about an explosion in syphilis once restrictions are lifted and social encounters of a sexual nature return to normal.

Dr McSorley has urged people living in the capital to use the time during lockdown to get tested for STIs and receive appropriate treatment, if needed, to avoid a new health crisis in the months ahead.

Speaking to MyLondon he said: “There are a lot of similarities between Covid and STIs.

“The notions of social distancing and isolating have been in sexual health for a long time.

“We are on our way back to where we were a year ago.

“As we open society up again we can expect more gonorrhoea and syphilis.”

Sexual health clinics across the UK saw an 85 per cent drop in appointments during the first lockdown last year as the public were told to stay home to protect the NHS.

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But Dr McSorley has commented on statistics that show the number of people seeking out treatments is on the rise again – while, before lockdown, the UK was facing the worst STI rates since World War 2.

Dr McSorley said: “People are rebounding back to living a normal life as they can and that includes a safe and entertaining sex life.

“About 80 to 90 per cent of people have seen their sexual activity reduced in the last year.”

There has been a five per cent increase in appointments week on week at the West London clinics which Dr McSorley oversees.

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He warned: “They have seen a slow and controlled increase in clinics.

“The bigger problem is Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). It is the area that requires the greatest action.”

Doctors warns there is a backlog in LARC – the use of coils and injections as a form of contraception alternatives to condoms – as clinics have been unable to fit routine implants over the course of the past year.

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