Sexually transmitted infection figures spark Sheffield tests warning – chlamydia, gonorrhoea are the most prevalent

Experts are concerned over a major gulf in Sheffield residents searching online for symptoms of sexually transmitted infections compared to those being diagnosed.

Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 10:58 pm

A new study from LloydsPharmacy’s Online Doctor has shown that the number of people in the city who are looking online for treatments and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) stands at 4.8 times the rate that they were actually being diagnosed.

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The figures represent the fifth highest disparity of any city in the country.

Press Association photo of condoms, as concerns were raised over sexually transmitted infection figures in Sheffield

Only London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Bristol show a larger disparity in the two figures.

With a total of 1,790 monthly online searches for treatments and symptoms of STIs, but only 373 diagnoses per 100,000 people, concerns have been raised that people in the city may be worried about heading to the doctors and getting formally diagnosed.

Dr Sameer Sanghvi, clinical technology lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, said it was important to get tests, and that it was the best thing for the health of the individual.

He said: “Not only will it help you get diagnosed earlier, which means you can start getting treatment sooner, but it will also protect you from passing on STIs to sexual partners. Ultimately, Google can do a good job at explaining the symptoms you’re experiencing, but you should never use the search engine to self-diagnose.”

Anyone concerned about contracting an STI should get tested by visiting their GP, local sexual health clinic or by ordering a discreet home STI kit, he said.

Lloyds said figures for the Sheffield showed chlamydia was both the most searched and most diagnosed STI in the city.

Official figures for the city showed 287 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people in 2020. It recorded 57 cases of gonorrhoea per 100,000, and 17 cases of genital warts per 100,000.

There were seven cases of genital herpes per 100,000 and five cases of HIV per 100,000.

But the figure for syphilis was 0.3 per 100,000.

Lloyds said that as the most common curable STI in the UK, chlamydia doesn’t always have tell-tale symptoms. And for some rare cases it can result in problems with fertility.