Condom use helps STI rates drop for first time in 10 years

The number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in England has dropped for the first time in ten years.

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) - which was set up in 2003 - there were 418,598 new cases in the country in 2010, a decrease from the 424,782 in the previous year.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of the HPA's STI section, noted consistent condom use is essential for those who want to avoid contracting one of the diseases.

"To reduce the risk of STIs, the HPA recommends using a condom when having sex with a new partner and continuing to do so until you both have been screened," Dr Hughes added.

Under-25s are also encouraged to undergo regular testing to ensure they do not have any symptomless problems.

Men who have sex with men made up 64 per cent of those who were diagnosed with syphilis and 40 per cent of gonorrhoea cases.