Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in Rochdale borough on the rise

Date published: 01 February 2024

Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in the Rochdale borough were on the rise in 2022, new figures from the Local Government Association have revealed.

Like the rest of the country, the borough saw an increase in rates of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) between 2021 and 2022.

The most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in England, chlamydia is most prevalent, at a local diagnosis rate of 386.5 per 100,000 people, compared to 246.3 per 100,000 the previous year. Chlamydia diagnoses in the borough were at their highest – 504.3 per 100,000 – in 2014 and lowest in 2021 (246.3 per 100,000).



Gonorrhoea diagnosis rates in the Rochdale borough have increased from 49.1 per 100,000 to 110.2 per 100,000 in 2022, the highest recorded. The lowest diagnosis rate recorded was in 2012 with a rate of 30.7 per 100,000 people.

However, unlike the rest of the country, the borough did see a reduction in rates of syphilis, which was at its highest rate – 11.2 people per 100,000 – in 2021.

Syphilis diagnoses fell to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2022, with its lowest being 2.3 people diagnosed per 100,000 in 2015.

All rates are, however, below the national averages for each disease, which can all be treated with antibiotics.



The LGA, which represent councils responsible for public health across England and Wales, is calling on the government to provide extra funding so local sexual health clinics can meet rising demand and publish a long-term plan to help prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections.

Demand for sexual health services has continued to grow, but funding for these services has been reduced.

LGA analysis has found that, between 2015 and 2024, the public health grant received by councils has been reduced in real terms by £880 million (based on 2022/23 prices).

This has resulted in a reduction in councils’ ability to spend on STI testing, contraception and treatment.



Councillor Daalat Ali, joint deputy leader and cabinet member for health said: “Although all of our rates are below the national average, we have undertaken a number of activities to try and address STIs, including increasing testing by 77 per cent last year.

“We are now providing STI testing kits and advice at community venues, or through outreach.

“Our key messages to residents are that they should use condoms, have regular tests particularly if they have had unprotected sex with a new partner or been told by a partner they may be at risk of infection.

“Many people have no symptoms and carry infections without knowing. STI infections can be treated easily, but can cause serious complications if they are left untreated.”

Councillor David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board said: “These statistics show that local sexual health services are grappling with unprecedented increases in demand. The government needs to ensure sexual health funding is increased to levels which matches these stark increases.

“Councils have been working hard to encourage more people to access sexual health services and get tested more regularly to help improve detection rates and catch infections early.

“Investment in sexual health services helps to prevent longer term illness and unwanted pregnancies, reducing pressure on our NHS and improving the health of people across our communities.”

Dr Claire Dewsnap, President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), said “without sufficient investment, sexual health service users will face severe challenges in their ability to access expert, timely care. “

She added: “As demand for care increases, without imminent action, we compromise our ability to safeguard the sexual health of our nation.”

You can get tested in Rochdale by contacting the council’s specialist sexual health service.

If you have symptoms, you can book an appointment online or by calling 0300 303 8565.

If you don't have symptoms, you can order an online test here.

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