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The rise of STI’s means it’s never been more challenging for sexually active gay men. But it’s not just HIV that’s posing a huge risk to our health – syphilis and gonorrhoea are rampaging their way through the gay community, with both infections showing massive year-on-year rises. GT asks why they’re on the up and what we should be doing to help protect ourselves

If you enjoy sex, the statistics make for grim reading.

Latest research reveals 439,243 straight and gay people were diagnosed with an STI last year. But the largest group affected by the rise? Gay and bisexual men under the age of 25.

According to figures released by Public Health England (PHE), in 2014 our community saw a 46% rise in cases of syphilis, meaning 3,477 more gay and bi guys learned they were carrying the infection. Chlamydia was up 10% to 1,474 and genital warts cases also rose by 10% to 3,456 cases. But a rise in gonorrhoea is particularly worrying. Although syphilis has the highest percentage increase, gonorrhoea’s 32% increase took the total number of gay carriers last year to 18,029. And because of the rise of antibioticresistant strains, it’s becoming very hard to treat. Today’s strain isn’t the same one a gay man in a previous generation might’ve dealt with. Even the World Health Organization describes drug-resistant gonorrhoea as ‘an emergency’.

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About Gay Times

Summer may be nearly over but fear not, the GT September issue is officially turning up the heat with English ruby star James Haskell. Bursting out of a glass box and straight onto the cover, James’s appearance in GT is timely given Keegan Hirst having recently come out at the first openly gay rugby league player. James has long been an advocate of the eradication of prejudice in sport and had this to say about Keegan’s decision to come out: “It took real strength and courage for Keegan to come out. He’s a tough guy, and the fact that his team mates, the fans and everybody has taken it so well shows that it can be done. And it shows that your sexuality really shouldn’t matter when it comes to playing sport.” Also in this issue: Keegan Hirst Kinky Boots John Grant Gay asylum seekers Cel Spellman Rebecca Root Natalie Imbruglia Kerry Ellis Jaymi Hensley And all the very best in style, tech, grooming and entertainment

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