BMJ Reports 24% Increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections

BMJ Reports 24% Increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections

According to an article published in the British Medical Journal in June 2023 (BMJ 2023;381:p1492), the rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased by almost 24% in 2022 compared with 2021.

These increases included;

  • chlamydia (24.3%)
  • gonorrhoea (50.3%)
  • syphilis (15.2%)

- despite the rate of testing increasing by over 13%.

Evidence supports self-testing

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence, published revised guidelines with the aim to help reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in June 2022 (NG221). The committee were satisfied that, “the evidence supports the use of STI testing outside clinical services using self-sampling kits for people who are asymptomatic." They agreed that, "it encourages people who have previously never engaged with sexual health services to come forward for testing, so widening access to these kits would be a good thing.”

Medical device industry advises caution

Nevertheless, a spokesperson for SELFCHECK, one of the UK's leading manufacturers of self-testing kits said, "Whilst self-testing kits such as SELFCHECK can help some people who are concerned they may have an STI to access, or consider testing for an STI, when they otherwise may not have, these types of remote self-testing kits cannot replace the full range of advice and follow-up services provided by established healthcare pathways for sexual health provided by the NHS."

"Although the information supplied with our self-testing kits encourages users to discuss their results and concerns with their own doctor, which is a regulatory requirement for self-testing kits in the UK and EU, one of the key pitfalls of STI self-testing kits is that the patient may not seek further advice from their doctor, pharmacist or sexual health clinic, and opportunities for sexual health education or treatment may be missed."

"Our view is that anyone who is worried that they may have an STI, should be encouraged to go for a free check-up at an NHS sexual health clinic as soon as they can."


SELFCHECK is a range of wellness tests, produced in the UK according to an internationally recognised (ISO 13485:2016), medical device quality assurance system. All the tests provide results within 15 minutes in the privacy of the patients own home, and are easily accessible from major UK retailers and pharmacies, both in-store and online. Sexual health tests from SELFCHECK currently include tests for syphilis, female chlamydia infections, pregnancy, menopause and general urine infections.

For further information about SELFCHECK please visit

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