Professor Pete Borriello, director of the Health Protection Agency's Centre for Infections, cited a total of 376,508 new STIs diagnosed in 2006 - up 2.2 per cent from 2005.
Young people aged 16-24 made up the bulk of cases of some of the most common STIs, including chlamydia, herpes and warts, the Health Protection Agency found.
Prof Borriello, said that young men should always wear a condom during sex, adding that putting on a condom before sex should be as automatic as buckling a seatbelt before driving.
"We need to change attitudes towards condom use. It should be clunk click every trip," the Mirror quoted him, as saying.
Prof Borriello recommended that gay men should have regular HIV tests, STI clinic attendees should be tested for HIV at every visit and young sexually active adults should be screened for chlamydia annually and after a partner change.
Experts have called for more action and funding to publicise the issue.
Health staff have also called for help to tackle the problem including regular testing for chlamydia and HIV.
Nick Patridge, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "This is a real test and one we can't afford to fail."