BRIGHTON has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) outside of London, figures show.

Statistics from Public Health England have revealed 1,547 out of every 100,000 Brighton and Hove residents have an STI, an increase on previous years.

Dr Peter Wilkinson, a public health consultant at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “Brighton and Hove has a high burden of poor sexual health.

“Gay and other men who have sex with men, younger people under 25, and people with a black ethnicity are at highest risk of STIs.

“Local agencies are working closely together to promote good sexual health across the local population.

“This includes promoting safer sexual behaviour and encouraging people who are at risk of STIs to be tested regularly.”

Marc Tweed, manager of the Terrence Higgins Trust sexual health charity, said the “alarming” STI rate showed regular testing was essential.

He said: “‘In order to prevent STI rates from increasing, it’s important for everyone to do their part by getting tested regularly and getting on to treatment if needed.

“This can minimize the chances of infection being passed on.

“We offer free STI and HIV tests at our office on Ship Street.”

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive David Liley said the city’s reputation as a “party city” could be a factor in the high STI rate.

He said: “We’re known as a cosmopolitan, party city.

“In terms of combatting this, we have got some really good council-run services encouraging screening.”

Anthea Morris, co-founder of private sexual health provider Better2Know, echoed calls for regular testing.

She said: “There are still many myths about sexual health out there and many STIs are symptomless at first.

“You won’t always know if you’ve got an STI that needs treatment and whether you are putting others at risk.

“It is vital for Brighton adults to get regular STI check-ups and wear protection during sexual activity.”

The city council recommends a number of precautions to ensure sexual health.

Condoms should be used consistently and correctly and regular testing is essential.

Anyone under 25 who is sexually active should be screened for chlamydia annually.

Men who have sex with men should test annually for STIs and every three months if having condomless sex.

Black ethnic minority men and women should have a regular STI screen if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.