SEXUALLY transmitted infections gonorrhoea and syphilis are on the rise, sparking calls from public health bosses for couples to have safer sex.

The warning comes as cases of gonorrhoea shot up from just 28 in 2012 to 71 last year in Blackburn with Darwen.

Cases of syphilis also rose from seven to 10 in the same time period, according to the new figures from Public Health England.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at PHE, said: “STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners.

“No matter what age you are, or what type of relationship you are in, it’s important to look after your sexual health.

“If you have sex with a new or casual partner, make sure you use condoms and get regularly tested.”

Health chiefs blamed the increase on people not using condoms correctly and consistently with new and casual partners.

They also said an increase in testing has led to improving detection of the most common STI’s.

But there has been a fall in the borough in cases of chlamydia in young people aged 15 to 24, from 469 in 2012 to 264 in 2018.

Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, which provides an all age Contraception and Sexual Health service (CaSH) in Blackburn with Darwen, said its campaigns to promote sexual health by visiting schools, colleges and universities, have contributed to the fall.

Dr Tessa Malone, consultant in sexual health reproductive healthcare at Lancashire Care, said: “Anyone who thinks they may have an STI should be tested and treated.

“Treatment for all STIs including syphilis and gonorrhoea is provided at our specialist services, where we also discuss arranging testing and treatment for any sexual partners.”