AN INCREASE in cases of the sexual transmitted infection syphilis has seen health experts give warnings on how to avoid it.
Figures released this month show in Portsmouth, the number has risen from 53 cases in 2016 to 64 cases last year.
This makes for a rate of 25.8 per 100,000 of the city’s population compared to 9.4 for Hampshire and a national average of 12.5.
Nearby city Southampton saw a reduction in cases of syphilis from 29 in 2016 to 23 last year.
Dr Alison Blume, from Solent NHS Trust which offers treatment and advice on STIs in Portsmouth, said: ‘I think there are lots of reasons behind the return in syphilis, a disease that was almost eradicated in the early 1980s largely due to the sexual health campaigns around HIV at that time.
‘The return is due to complacency regarding HIV being treatable, possibly factors like being openly gay being more acceptable, travel and sex abroad, and more recently some mobile apps facilitating easy sex/fast partner change.’
Dr Blume added: ‘Stopping the spread of syphilis requires us all to take the usual sexual health precautions such as using protection and getting tested.
‘Those considered more at risk should think about getting tested and, if needed, treatment.’
Solent has an online quiz to test people’s knowledge of syphilis and, if anyone has concerns about their sexual health they can request a test kist from Solent.
For more information about all STIs visit letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk.