The number of gonorrhea cases reported in England increased by 26 percent in 2019, according to a new report by Public Health England (PHE).

Between 2018 and 2019, England saw gonorrhea cases rise from 56,232 to 70,936.


Between 2018 and 2019, increases in gonorrhea were reported in:

  • gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from 26,864 to 33,853 (26% increase)
  • heterosexual women from 14,167 to 17,826 (26% increase)
  • heterosexual men from 13,036 to 15,253 (17% increase)

The rise in diagnoses of gonorrhea is explained in part by an increase in testing, using more accurate diagnostic tests and more comprehensive data on STI diagnoses.

Dr Hamish Mohammed, National Lead for Sexually Transmitted Infection Surveillance at Public Health England, said:

“The considerable rise of gonorrhea cases in England, as well as the continued rise of other STIs, is concerning. It is important to emphasize that STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners.

“We have seen that gonorrhea has become more resistant to antibiotics and expect to see further cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in the future, which will be challenging for healthcare professionals to manage.

“The consistent and correct use of condoms with new and casual sexual partners is the best defense against all STIs. If you have had sex without a condom with a new or casual partner, you should get tested.”

In addition to gonorrhea, other sexually transmitted infections also increased in 2019.

Cases of syphilis have increased by 10% from 2018 with 7,982 cases being reported in 2019.

With 229,411 cases diagnosed in 2019, chlamydia increased by 5% since 2018 and remains the most commonly diagnosed STI.