Local authorities must issue free contraception, NICE says

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has urged councils to increase the number of free condoms they offer to young people, gay men and those most at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections (STI).

The news comes as official data shows the NHS spends around £620 million annually on treating STI’s, with the rate of syphilis and gonorrhoea rising by 76 per cent and 53 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

Christine Carson, programme director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: “We know condoms can protect against many sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

“If local authorities and other commissioners can work together to increase condom availability and use amongst high-risk groups we could significantly reduce the rates of STIs.”