Rates of STI 'that causes infertility' have risen 60-FOLD since 2015 (2022)

Rates of a super-STI which can cause infertility in women have soared 60-fold over the last decade, official figures revealed today.

More than 5,000 cases of mycoplasma genitalium — which is becoming resistant to drugs — were logged in England in 2021.

By comparison, just 79 cases of MG were recorded when experts first proved it was a sexually transmitted infection seven years ago.

Despite being discovered in the 1980s, very few people, even doctors, knew about it until very recently.

Mycoplasma genitalium, also known as M. genitalium or M. gen, causes serious symptoms including infertility, but is resistant to four different types of antibiotics. It is estimated that up to one in five sexually active US citizens could have it

The data revealed that MG rates have soared by a fifth in a year in the space of one year, from 4,230 in 2020 to 5,109 in 2021. However, they are still slightly lower than pre-pandemic rates, with medics logging a sharp decline in STIs as lockdowns and social distancing reduced sexual activity. MG rates had been rising by up to five-fold year-on-year before the pandemic struck, with 431 cases in 2017, 1,981 in 2018 and 5,331 in 2019


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There were311,604 STIs diagnosed in 2021, according to data from the UK Health Security Agency.

The figure is 0.5 per cent higher than 2020 but a third lower than pre-Covid levels, when 440,000 were diagnosed, on average, each year.

However, testing rates are lower than they were before the pandemic, which may mean some cases are slipping under the radar.



Genital Herpes:21,649

Mycoplasma genitalium:5,109

Non-specific genital infection:14,471

Pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymitis:10,437

Chlamydial pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymitis:853


Genital warts: 28,280

Other new STI diagnoses: 13,630

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That is because it is commonly misdiagnosed as chlamydia.

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This mistake has allowed the bacteria to quietly grow stronger and spread under the radar.

And because it has been treated with the wrong drugs, it is growing resistant to antibiotics.

Some strains are already able to evade potent medicines, meaning patients have to take different drugs to clear the infection.

Most people who carry MG have no symptoms — but can still pass it onto others.

Bad cases can cause painful inflammation and watery discharge for men.

But the STI can be more serious for women, potentially causing womb scarring that leaves them infertile.

Today's MG figures were released by the UK Health Security Agency, which monitors STI rates across England.

The data revealed that MG rates have soared by a fifth in the space of one year, from4,230 in 2020 to5,109 in 2021.

However, they are still slightly lower than pre-pandemic rates.

Medics logged a sharp decline in STIs across the board as lockdowns and social distancing rules reduced sexual activity.

The UKHSA stats also show that there was 311,604 new diagnoses of STIs in England in 2021.

This was up by 0.5 per cent from309,921 in 2020.

The figure is a third lower than pre-Covid.

For comparison, an average of 440,000 new STIs were logged in the five years before the virus first sparked chaos.

Overall, one in 172 men (1.6 per cent higher than 2020) and one in 207 women (14.9 per cent lower than 2020) found out they had an STI in 2021.

However, charities warned that testing rates are still lagging behind pre-Covid levels.

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The UKHSA data revealed that there was a 'marked' eight per cent rise in syphilis cases last year, with 7,506 new diagnoses compared to 6,923 in 2020. The UKHSA reported that cases had nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels and 'exceeded them' in some parts of England

Some 51,074 gonorrhoea cases were diagnosed in 2021, up by 841 from 2020. However, rates are still below pre-pandemic, with a peak of70,908 annual cases logged in 2019

Chlamydia remains the most commonly diagnosed STI, making up 51 per cent of all confirmed cases. However, around 2,000 fewer cases were detected in 2021 compared to 2020

What is Mgen?

Mycoplasma genitalium, also known as M. genitalium or M. gen., is a sexually transmitted disease.

It is a bacterial infection whichinfects the urinary and genital tracts of men and women.

First discovered in London in the 1980s, it is passed on through sexual contact.

Babies can also contract the infection from their mothers before they are born through the amniotic fluid.

It is more common in young people and also in people who have unprotected sex and who have multiple sexual partners (though this is true for all STIs).

The infection is similar to chlamydia, but is caused by a different bacterium.

Past M. gen. cases may have been mistaken for and treated as chlamydia, allowing it to gradual developing resistance to different antibiotics.

However, it is possible to have both infections.

Symptoms include:

(Video) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Signs & Symptoms (& Why They Occur)

  • Bleeding and swollen genitals
  • Urethritis, swelling and irritation of the urethra, making it painful to pee
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Cervical swelling
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, causing pain in the lower abdomen and bleeding after sex

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While swabs and blood tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV at sexual health services increased by a fifth compared to 2020, the rate is still 13.2 per cent lower than in 2019— meaning more cases may be slipping under the radar than previous years.

Chlamydia remains the most commonly diagnosed STI, making up 51 per cent of all confirmed cases.

However, around 2,000 fewer cases were detected in 2021.

Its symptoms include pain when passing urine and unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus.

Women may also suffer tummy pain, bleeding after sex and in between periods. Men may have painful and swollen testicles.

Some 51,074 gonorrhoea cases were diagnosed, up by 841 from 2020. Again, rates are still below pre-pandemic, with a peak of 70,908 annual cases logged in 2019.

Sufferers usually have thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis and pain when urinating, while women may also suffer bleeding between periods.

Small increases were also noted herpes diagnoses (1,133 cases, up by 5.5 per cent) and genital warts (848 cases, up by 3.1 per cent).

The data also revealed that there was a 'marked' eight per cent rise in syphilis cases last year, with 7,506 new diagnoses compared to 6,923 in 2020.

The UKHSA reported that cases had nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels in England and 'exceeded them' in some parts of the country.

Syphilis symptoms include small, usually painless, sores on the genitals and anus that sometimes spread to the mouth, lips and hands.

It can also trigger flu-like symptoms, swollen glands and patchy hair loss. If not treated, it can lead to fatal heart and brain problems.

Ian Green, chief executive at sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said the figures show testing rates are still 'lagging behind' pre-Covid levels.

He said: 'This comes at a time when the already very limited capacity of sexual health services is being swallowed up by leading the country's monkeypox response, which is displacing HIV and STI testing.

'The Government needs to act with urgency to properly resource the monkeypox response and mitigate the impact on wider sexual health service to avoid an increase in STIs, unwanted pregnancies and people contracting HIV.'

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On STI rates, he added: 'Levels of syphilis and gonorrhoea remain high while testing levels aren't back to where they were before Covid.

'That's why we need the Government to set out its vision for sexual and reproductive health in its long over-due sexual and reproductive health action plan.

'These latest numbers show why the Government must urgently set out what good looks like with the funding attached to achieve that vision.'


What STI can cause infertility? ›

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are important preventable causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Untreated, about 10-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID. Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms.

How often does chlamydia cause infertility? ›

On its own, the disease doesn't cause infertility, however 40% of women with chlamydia develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID affects the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, often leading the woman to become infertile.

What are the 4 new STDs? ›

  • Neisseria meningitidis. N. ...
  • Mycoplasma genitalium. M. ...
  • Shigella flexneri. Shigellosis (or Shigella dysentery) is passed on by direct or indirect contact with human faeces. ...
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
7 Dec 2018

What STD causes infertility in males? ›

CT is related to male infertility because it is a major cause of pelvic inflammation in the reproductive system organs, being responsible for 40 to 80% of epididymitis and, consequently, causing orchitis and prostatitis.

Does gonorrhea lead to infertility? ›

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to major complications, such as: Infertility in women. Gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can result in scarring of the tubes, greater risk of pregnancy complications and infertility.

Can sperm give you an STI? ›

Some STDs—like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea—are spread through sexual fluids, like semen. Other STDs, including HIV and hepatitis B, are also spread through blood. Genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are most often spread through genital skin-to-skin contact.

What are the 2 deadliest STDs? ›

The most dangerous viral STD is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which leads to AIDS. Other incurable viral STDs include human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B and genital herpes.

What 3 STDs are on the rise? ›

Countries with good STI surveillance such as the United States and Canada have reported an increase in at least 3 STIs: syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Recent reports from different regions of the world have also reported increase in cases of congenital syphilis and syphilis especially among key populations.

What are 4 causes of male infertility? ›

Medical causes
  • Varicocele. A varicocele is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle. ...
  • Infection. ...
  • Ejaculation issues. ...
  • Antibodies that attack sperm. ...
  • Tumors. ...
  • Undescended testicles. ...
  • Hormone imbalances. ...
  • Defects of tubules that transport sperm.
13 Apr 2021

Does masturbation cause low sperm count? ›

Frequent male masturbation isn't likely to have much effect on your fertility. Some data shows that optimum semen quality occurs after two to three days of no ejaculation. But other research suggests that men who have normal sperm quality maintain normal sperm motility and concentrations even with daily ejaculation.

Can STD lower your sperm count? ›

In addition to protecting your long-term health, avoiding STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is very important to safeguard your fertility. Certain STDs will put your fertility at risk or can directly affect your sperm count and motility.

How often do STDs cause infertility? ›

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by bacteria or a virus that spreads in the body, leading to STDs. Problems with the fallopian tubes cause about 30% of female infertility, and STDs are a common cause of what is known as tubal factor infertility.

Can you get chlamydia from kissing? ›

Chlamydia isn't spread through casual contact, so you CAN'T get chlamydia from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on the toilet. Using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex is the best way to help prevent chlamydia.

Can chlamydia make a man permanently infertile? ›

Chlamydia in men can spread to the testicles, causing epididymitis, which can cause sterility. Chlamydia causes more than 250,000 cases of epididymitis in the USA each year.

What STD makes it hard to get pregnant? ›

Gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are preventable, are the two STDs most likely to result in infertility because they can cause PID in women. This can inflame and scar the fallopian tubes, making it hard for sperm and eggs to find each other, blocking pregnancy.

How long does chlamydia take to make you infertile? ›

There is no clear timeline on how long it may take for this to occur - while one study suggests that after exposure to the bacteria, it can take a few weeks for PID to develop, the NHS estimates that 1 in 10 women with untreated chlamydia could go on to develop PID within a year.

Why is gonorrhea called the clap? ›

In the 1500s, this word referred to a rabbit's nest; due to the active sex lives of rabbits, the name was picked up as a slang term for brothels, a place where people engaged in regular sex and could spread the disease easily. If you had the disease, you had “clapier bubo.” This was eventually shortened to “clap.”

Can two uninfected partners get an STD? ›

If 2 people who don't have any STDs have sex, it's not possible for either of them to get one. A couple can't create an STD from nothing — they have to get spread from one person to another.

Can you develop an STI on your own? ›

Can you get a STI by yourself? If you have had no sexual contact with anyone, and no non-sexual contact with anyone, then no — you cannot get an STI by yourself, according to the CDC.

Can you get STD from oral with swallowing? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is possible to get certain STDs in the mouth or throat by giving oral sex to a partner who has an STD infection in the genitals or anus — giving oral sex to a partner with an infected penis is particularly risky.

Which STD leads to death? ›

Syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C are serious diseases that can result in long-term health problems and even death.

What is the #1 reported viral STD? ›

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection

HPV is the most common STI in the United States, but most people with the infection have no symptoms.

Who has the most STDs in the world? ›

Countries with the Highest STD Rates. According to new reports, countries with the highest STD rates like HIV include Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, and Equatorial Guinea. The STD rates of infection in these countries are as the following: 8% in Eswatini.

What are the top 5 most common STDs? ›

5 Common STDs and How to Treat Them
  1. Syphilis. This bacterial infection can affect many areas of the body not related to the genitals and happens in three stages. ...
  2. Chlamydia. ...
  3. Gonorrhea. ...
  4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) ...
  5. Hepatitis.

What are the 4 most common STIs? ›

Each year there are an estimated 374 million new infections with 1 of 4 curable STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis. More than 500 million people 15–49 years are estimated to have a genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes) (1).

What is the easiest STD to get? ›

Herpes is easy to catch. All it takes is skin-to-skin contact, including areas that a condom doesn't cover. You're most contagious when you have blisters, but you don't need them to pass the virus along. Because herpes is a virus, you can't cure it.

Are STD rates rising? ›

On this page you'll find the most recent statistical content for STDs. Preliminary CDC data suggest STDs in the U.S. continued to increase in 2021. Data reflects cases reported as of July 2022.

Why are STD rates so high? ›

What's contributing to the rise in sexually transmitted diseases? The CDC cites that pre-pandemic reductions in STD screening, treatment, prevention and partner services contributed to the increase in the statistics.

Is Covid a STD? ›

There is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids, but the virus has been detected in the semen of people who have or are recovering from the virus.

What are the top 3 causes for infertility? ›

  • Scarring from surgery. Pelvic surgery can damage and scar the fallopian tubes, which link the ovaries to the womb. ...
  • Cervical mucus problems. ...
  • Fibroids. ...
  • Endometriosis. ...
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease. ...
  • Sterilisation. ...
  • Medicines and drugs.

What are the 3 main problems of infertility in men? ›

Key points about male factor infertility

Male infertility can have many causes. You may not make enough sperm or healthy sperm. You may have a genetic problem like cystic fibrosis. You may have a blockage in your genital tract.

How old can men have kids? ›

Although most men are able to have children well into their 50s and beyond, it becomes gradually more difficult after the age of 40 . There are many reasons for this, including: Sperm quality tends to decrease with age.

What makes a man to release quick? ›

Physical, chemical and emotional/psychological factors cause premature ejaculation. Physical and chemical problems include: An underlying erectile dysfunction diagnosis. A hormonal problem with oxytocin levels, which has a role in sexual function in men.

When is a man's sperm count the highest? ›

The study looked at everything a semen analysis would, including how often they had sex. This is important to consider because sexual abstinence can lower semen quality. Frequent sex creates healthier sperm. Researchers found that semen quantity peaked between the ages of 30 and 35.

Is masturbation a sin in the Bible? ›

Nowhere in the Bible is masturbation explicitly forbidden. There is good reason for this because the problem does not come from masturbation, which is in itself neither good or bad, but the adulterous sexual fantasies that accompany it, as Christ makes clear in Matthew 5:28.

What happens if we release sperm daily? ›

What Happens If We Release Sperm Daily? There's nothing to suggest that ejaculating daily is unhealthy. Frequent ejaculation has no physical side effects and, so long as it's not associated with chronic masturbation or porn addiction, it can actually be beneficial to your emotional well-being.

Why does my boyfriend have low sperm count? ›

Causes of a low sperm count

a genetic problem such as Klinefelter syndrome. having had undescended testicles as a baby. a structural problem – for example, the tubes that carry sperm being damaged and blocked by illness or injury, or being absent from birth.

› blog › 7-stis-that-af... ›

According to Public Health England, 422,000 sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diagnosed each year in the UK. Unfortunately, the actual number of people...
Low sperm count can be caused by a number of issues and create difficulty getting pregnant. Fortunately, several very effective treatments are available.
Male infertility is any health issue in a man that lowers the chances of his female partner getting pregnant.

How long does it take chlamydia to make you infertile? ›

There is no clear timeline on how long it may take for this to occur - while one study suggests that after exposure to the bacteria, it can take a few weeks for PID to develop, the NHS estimates that 1 in 10 women with untreated chlamydia could go on to develop PID within a year.

Can you still get pregnant after an STI? ›

Yes, you can get pregnant with most STIs. If you're actively trying to conceive, your healthcare provider may recommend preconception STI testing (through a blood test) so that any infections curable by medication (such as gonorrhea and chlamydia) are treated before you ever get pregnant.

Can STDs prevent you from getting pregnant? ›

Sexually transmitted diseases can directly or indirectly cause infertility in women and in men. When STDs are left untreated, infections can develop that cause infertility by moving up the reproductive system and spreading to the woman's uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes causing damage, scarring or inflammation.

Can a person with STI have a baby? ›

Some STIs, such as syphilis, cross the placenta and infect the baby in the womb. Other STIs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and genital herpes, can pass from the mother to the baby as the baby passes through the birth canal. HIV can cross the placenta during pregnancy and infect the baby during delivery.

How many people are infertile after chlamydia? ›

It is not known how common it is for women to become infertile following a chlamydia infection but some scientists estimate that chlamydia is responsible for as many as one in five cases of infertility in women.

Had chlamydia for 2 years can I still get pregnant? ›

Most women who have had chlamydia won't have any difficulties conceiving that are related to the infection. There may be a greater chance of chlamydia affecting fertility if you have repeated infections or if it goes untreated and causes a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

Can you have chlamydia for 10 years? ›

An untreated chlamydia infection can persist for several years. Although this goes for both men and women, it is believed that men are less likely to carry the bacteria for several years. If you remain infected for a long time you have an increased risk of complications.

Can you still get an STI if both partners are clean? ›

If 2 people who don't have any STDs have sex, it's not possible for either of them to get one. A couple can't create an STD from nothing — they have to get spread from one person to another.

Can a man get sick after sleeping with a pregnant woman? ›

Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy happens when a pregnant woman's partner has symptoms that uncannily mimic pregnancy. Actually, it's not uncommon for men to have symptoms like constipation, gas, bloating, irritability, weight gain, and nausea while their partner is expecting.

What happens if you leave an STI for too long? ›

Developing Complications

Gonorrhea: PID, infertility. Hepatitis B: Cirrhosis, liver cancer. HIV: Reduced life expectancy, opportunistic infections. HPV: Cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer.

What STD makes it hard to get pregnant? ›

Gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are preventable, are the two STDs most likely to result in infertility because they can cause PID in women. This can inflame and scar the fallopian tubes, making it hard for sperm and eggs to find each other, blocking pregnancy.

Can kids get STD from parents? ›

Many STDs such as AIDS/HIV, herpes, and syphilis can be passed on from mother to the baby at birth.

What is the 100% way to not get pregnant and not get an STD? ›

Not having sex at all (abstinence) is the only 100% effective method for preventing pregnancy and lowering the risk of catcing sexually transmitted diseases.

Can you get an STD from breast milk? ›

STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, genital warts, HIV, and syphilis. Some STIs can pass from mother to baby during pregnancy and through breastfeeding.

Do they test babies for STDs at birth? ›

Many STD tests are recommended during pregnancy. Many are now required by law which means that the hospital will test you or the baby when you deliver if we haven't done it during the pregnancy. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia may be done at the visit when you confirmed the pregnancy or any visit after that.

Can I pass chlamydia to my toddler? ›

A genital Chlamydia infection can be spread between sexual partners during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact. An infected mother can pass it on to her newborn child. In fact, about 50% of infants delivered vaginally to infected mothers get chlamydia.


1. Disrupting Sexually Transmitted Diseases by Leveraging Innovative Technologies for Prevention...
2. Break the STI Cycle with Accurate Mycoplasma genitalium Testing
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3. A Guy's Guide to Male Infertility #maleinfertility #menshealth
(Dr. Aaron Spitz)
4. Fertility 101, How Mini-Stim IVF Works & Lower Cost IVF Options
(Pathways Fertility)
5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Update for 2021 -- John Toney, MD
6. STI Hot Topics: What's New in Sexually Transmitted Infections?
(Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Mid-Atlantic Public Health Training Center)

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