A million people a day get sexual infections, WHO warns

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 7, 2019

WHO found that there were more than 376 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis registered around the world in 2016 - the latest year for which data is available.

On an average, one in every 25 people in the world has at least one of these infections and some have more than one.

A recent study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says parents need to be anxious as generation is being lost due to reckless sexual behaviour leading to transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Serious complications can include pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women from chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and cardiovascular and neurological disease from syphilis.

World Health Organization does not provide individual numbers for Australia as it falls into WHO's Western Pacific region, which includes 36 other countries.

Taylor said the new figures show "no substantial decline", from the WHO's last published data from 2012, and again "demonstrate an incredibly high global burden of these sexually transmitted infections".

"We're seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide", said Dr Peter Salama, executive director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO, in a statement.

He called it "a wake-up call" for authorities to ensure that everybody had access to services to prevent and treat STIs.

Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally, the research said. Some can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy and birth.

On preventive strategies, the report said STIs were preventable through safe sexual practices, including correct and consistent condom use and sexual health education.

In terms of treatment, bacterial STIs can be treated and cured with widely available medications. However, recent shortages in the global supply of benzathine penicillin has made it more hard to treat syphilis.

In light of these statistics, the report's authors urged people who are sexually active to regularly seek testing and treatment for STIs.

The diseases are also associated with stigma and domestic violence.

World Health Organization also recommends that pregnant women should be systematically screened for syphilis and HIV.

Journalists gathered that trichomoniasis (or "trich") is the most common curable STI globally. Coupled with the difficulty of these infections often not presenting symptoms, which allows for transmissions unknowingly to sexual partners or from mothers to infants, Taylor called this a "hidden epidemic, a silent epidemic, a risky epidemic, that is persistent globally".

The vast majority of the infections are easily preventable and curable, the organization said, but some diseases, especially gonorrhea, are evolving into super-bug forms that are increasingly hard to treat with antibiotics.

STI symptoms can include discharge, pain urinating and bleeding between periods. "They are far more common than we think".

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