Gonorrhoea at 'highest ever' level in NI

Gonorrhoea at 'highest ever' level in NI

The highest ever number of cases of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea has been recorded for Northern Ireland.

Over the space of two years, the rate of the infection 'uncomplicated gonorrhea' has more doubled - from 200 new cases in 2010 to 451 in 2012.

Infectious syphilis and HIV diagnoses have also increased in recent years.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) admitted that there is a growing worldwide problem of gonorrhoea becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea, a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), can enter the bloodstream or spread to the joints if left untreated.

In women, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. An infected pregnant woman may pass the infection to her baby during delivery.

Dr Neil Irvine, a Health Protection Consultant with the PHA, said: "The increase has been seen in both heterosexuals and in men who have sex with men (MSM).

"This would suggest that the newer, more sensitive tests introduced in recent years are showing that prevalence was higher than previously thought.

"However, there is also likely to be increased transmission due to unsafe sex, given that infectious syphilis and HIV diagnoses have also increased in recent years."


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