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Sexual Diseases in Bristol ‘Fuelled by Gay Men’

A consultant at the Bristol Sexual Health Centre has commented that the surge in sexually transmitted diseases in the Bristol area has been fuelled by gay men having sex with multiple partners.

Peter Greenhouse, a consultant based at Bristol’s Sexual Health Centre, told the Bristol Post that he had seen a rise in Bristol’s swingers coming into his clinic suffering from gonorrhoea, and that in addition to the swingers, the surge in sexually transmitted diseases in the city had been fuelled by gay men having sex with multiple partners.

Mr Greenhouse also warned that the city has just five years left to bring the disease under control before it is expected to become immune to the last remaining effective treatment. “We are in real trouble with gonorrhoea – it’s a matter of around five years before it becomes untreatable. Unless a new class of drugs is developed, it’s going to be a really big problem. You only need to have one man who has multiple (male) partners and you soon see an increase in numbers.” Mr Greenhouse said.

Steve Jones, Regional Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust in the West of England, said: “The more partners you have, the potential for the spread of any infection. We encourage people to get tested frequently if they have put themselves at risk.

“Certainly men who have sex with men do seem to have a greater burden of STDs. Possibly this is because men who have sex with men do tend to change their sexual partners more frequently than the heterosexual community.

“However men who have sex with men are more likely to be screened for infections more frequently – generally the infections are identified a lot sooner.

“Social networks also makes finding sexual partners a lot easier and that, I’d say, is for all communities.”

The story was carried in many regional and national newspapers, but as reported in the Daily Mirror, when compared to other locations in the United Kingdom, Bristol does not record the worst sexual health – unsurprisingly, London has the worst sexual health in the whole country, with huge rates of all sexually-transmitted infections.

Bristol’s rise in STI’s is actually 34.7%, but this has been reflected all across the country. The city is actually placed 14th for the largest increase in the number of reported cases of gonorrhoea. With such places as Rotherham reporting a 106% increase, Sheffield 83% and Blackpool reporting a 69% increase.

You can find details of sexual health clinics across the region on our Health & Support pages.