Public Health England has reported a 20 percent increase in cases of syphilis and a 22 percent rise in cases of gonorrhea in 2017.

The increase in syphilis – from 5,955 to 7,137 cases, marking the highest number since 1949 – follows a 10-year trend, with 78 percent of diagnoses in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), heath officials said.

PHE is now working with partner organisations to develop an action plan that will tackle this rise, with a key aim being to increase numbers and frequency of tests in populations at higher risk of infection.

Chlamydia is still the most prevalent of the STIs, with more than 200,000 cases last year, accounting for 48 percent of all new diagnoses in the last year.

Across all STIs, the highest rates of diagnoses continue to be seen in 16 to 24 year olds, underscoring the need for increased condom use and testing.

While diagnoses of STIs in England is overall stable with that reported for 2016, the number “remains worryingly high against a backdrop of damaging cuts to sexual health services,” said Debbie Laycock, head of Policy and Engagement at Terrence Higgins Trust. “Our sexual health services are stretched too thinly and demand outweighs availability, with more cuts already planned.”

‘There is a small decline in chlamydia diagnoses, but this isn’t good news as there’s also been an 8 percent decline in testing for chlamydia. Most worryingly, that includes a 61 percent drop in chlamydia testing in sexual and reproductive health services in just two years,” she added.

The charity is “calling on local authorities and government to face up to what’s happening, urgently work together and ensure sexual health services are properly funded to meet local demand.”