Certain types of sexually transmitted diseases are more widespread now than they were eight years ago in Watford as cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis rose.

Data from Public Health England shows how many sex infections have been reported in the town since 2012, with the most recent data including 2019 figures.

The data showed that a total of 112 gonorrhoea infections were recorded in Watford 2019, up from 33 cases in 2012.

This is the highest number of cases there have been in eight years – each year since 2012 the number has increased.

There has also been more syphilis cases in Watford, with 12 having been recorded in 2019 compared to just one in 2012.

Meanwhile, last year’s number of chlamydia cases of people aged between 15-24, 197, is two cases lower than what it was in 2018, although is 65 more than what it was eight years ago.

However, people are contracting genital warts less than before, with 106 new cases reported to Public Health England in 2019, down from 115 in 2012.

Across Hertfordshire, 910 cases of gonorrhoea were diagnosed in 2019, up 28 per cent from the 709 infections reported a year earlier, and the highest number since comparable local records began in 2012.

Overall STI cases in the county rose to 7,047 last year, up by 1 per cent from 6,985 in 2018.

Across England, cases rose by 5 per cent.

Public Health England said the rise was likely to be due to people not using condoms correctly and consistently with new and casual partners, and an increase in testing helping improve detection of the most common infections.

Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed infection last year, with 229,411 – or nearly half – of all new STI diagnoses in 2019.

Among young people aged 15 to 24, the number of chlamydia tests carried out rose 2 per cent compared with 2018.

Dr John McSorley, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said the year-on-year rise in STI diagnoses is "hugely concerning".

"This year we have seen how crucial investment in public health services is to support the wellbeing of populations more widely, and we must consider how we can continue to improve access to services for all those who need them and those at the highest risk," he added.

Public Health England said it is analysing the data to understand the impact of the Covid-19 response on HIV and STI services and the effect of social distancing measures on the spread of STIs.

Ian Green, chief executive of sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the figures reveal the "ongoing inaction and lack of vision for improving the nation’s sexual health".

He added: "Rates of sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and syphilis are rising significantly while sexual health services are over-burdened and under-funded."

Mr Green said that as people start to have sex again in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, access to testing and treatment should be "scaled up in parallel".