Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) declined in the UK during the 1980s and early 1990s but have increased substantially since 1995. Within the overall increase there are important differences in the epidemiology of these infections. The current, aggregate system of STI data collection in the UK provides limited demographic information and is unable to fully explain these differences. More useful information can be obtained using an enhanced surveillance system that collects disaggregate, anonymised, individual patient data including ethnic group and truncated postcode of residence. Such a system has been set up in the West Midlands NHS region. The methodology of the project is described here along with the findings to date. These findings confirm that the burden of STIs disproportionately affects young persons, men who have sex with men, black ethnic minority groups and those living in urban areas. Identifying the groups at greatest risk in this way enables interventions to be more usefully targeted.