In 2016, there were over 141,000 chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnoses in people aged between 15 and 24 in England and almost 6 in 10 (59%) of all those diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were among this age group.

A new YouGov survey of 2,007 young people has revealed that almost half (47%) of sexually active young people said they have had sex with someone new for the first time without using a condom; whilst 1 in 10 sexually active young people said that they had never used a condom.

The new research also revealed that sexual health is a challenging topic for young adults to discuss, as 56% of men and 43% of women said that it is difficult to talk about STIs with friends. Furthermore, 58% said that if they had an STI they would find it difficult to talk to their sexual partner about it.

As a result of these worrying statistics Public Health England (PHE) has launched ‘Protect against STIs’, the first government sexual health campaign for 8 years, to help normalise and encourage condom use in young people and reduce the rates of STIs among 16 to 24 year-olds.

‘Protect against STIs’ aims to raise awareness of the serious consequences of STIs, which can cause infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID - an infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries), swollen or painful testicles and even meningitis. Gonorrhoea is a particular concern because it is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and may become untreatable in the future. The campaign will be highlighting the increased likelihood of contracting an STI if you have sex without a condom and that many STIs are symptomless, including 7 in 10 cases of chlamydia.

Visit the PHE campaign website where you can watch the video of real people talking about their own personal experiences of having an STI, as well as find out more about using a condom.

Eddystone also have loads of information on the transmission and symptoms of STIs, how to avoid them, plus how and where you can test for them.  There is also information on how young people can get hold of free condoms via the various C-Card schemes that are being run throughout the South West.