MORE people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole contracted gonorrhoea and syphilis in 2022, new figures show.

It comes as gonorrhoea cases hit a record high in England, while the number of syphilis diagnoses has reached the highest level since just after the Second World War.

New figures from the UK Health Security Agency show 496 cases of gonorrhoea were recorded in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in 2022, an increase of 248 on the year before, when there were 248.

In 2012, there were 126 cases.

Last year, 38 syphilis cases were also recorded – up from 29 in 2021.

Across England, infectious syphilis diagnoses increased to 8,692 in 2022, the largest annual number since 1948.

Meanwhile, gonorrhoea diagnoses rose to 82,592 in 2022, an increase of 50% compared to 2021, and the highest number since records began in 1918.

The UKHSA said people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections as it urged those who are having sex with new or casual partners to wear a condom and get tested regularly.

It said STIs are usually easily treated with antibiotics but many can cause serious health issues if left untreated.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, while syphilis can cause potentially life-threatening problems with the brain, heart or nerves.

“We saw more gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2022 than ever before, with large rises, particularly in young people,” said Dr Hamish Mohammed, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA.

“STIs aren’t just an inconvenience – they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners."

He said condoms were the best defence against STIs, and urged people to get tested if they didn't use one the last time they had sex with a new or casual partner, as many STIs do not show symptoms.

In 2022, there were 2,195,909 diagnostic tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or HIV – 13 per cent more than in 2021.

The UKHSA said that while the rise in gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses will partly be due to increases in testing, the sharp rise “strongly suggests” there is more transmission of STIs in the population.