Students are being urged to practice safe sex after a 50% increase in gonorrhoea cases in the past year, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Diagnoses peaked at 82,592 in 2022, the largest number since records began in 1918. The biggest rise was among 19- and 20-year-olds.
River Online carried out a snapshot survey of ten students to get their views on why cases are rising among students.
The survey found that some students believed that it starts with freshers week. One student said: “For a lot of people, going to university will be your first time moving out and having complete independence, this mixed with a lot of alcohol in freshers week could lead to multiple sexual partners and unprotected sex.”
“It’s less taboo to sleep around, and it is normalised so much with freshers, which carries on throughout university,” said another student.
Other students concluded that the rise is due to a change in social norms and students being pressured into having unprotected sex.
Seven out of ten students admitted they were unaware that there is an increase in gonorrhoea cases among them and four of the students confessed to having no knowledge about the available options for getting tested for STIs in Kingston. In addition, eight students believed that it is the university’s responsibility to help raise awareness and educate about sexual health, considering the rise in STI cases.
Professionals have stressed that gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming resistant to antibiotics, therefore, becoming untreatable. University students have been urged to use protection and regularly get tested.