In 2010, there were 418,598 new STI diagnoses in England, down from 424,782 in 2009.
Although this drop represents a fall of just 1%, it occurred as tests for STIs increased. For instance 2.2m chlaymdia tests were carried out in England in 2010 among young people aged 15 to 24, a rise of 196,500 from 2009.
Among younger adults there has been a notable decline in some STIs in the past two years, the HPA said. From 2008 to 2010, diagnoses of genital warts in women and men aged 15-19 fell by 13% and 8% and diagnoses of those of gonorrhoea fell by 13% and 14%.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of the HPA’s STI section said: ‘Although the drop is modest this is the first time we’ve seen a decrease in STIs in over 10 years so it is an important milestone.
‘These are very early days but we hope that this is the beginning of a downward trend.’