Over one million people get sexually transmitted infections daily – WHO

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Data released by the World Health Organisation shows tha every day, there are more than one million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections among people aged 15-49 years.

This amounts to more than 376 million new cases annually of four infections — chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis.

Executive Director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO, Peter Salama, says there is a lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide.

“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.

“This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases,” Salama added.

Published online by the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, the research shows that, among men and women aged 15–49 years, there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhoea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis.

“These STIs have a profound impact on the health of adults and children worldwide.

“They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence,” the bulletin explained.

Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally.

STIs remain a persistent and endemic health threat worldwide. Since the last published data for 2012, there has been no substantive decline in either the rates of new or existing infections.

On average, approximately one in 25 people globally have at least one of these STIs, according to the latest figures, with some experiencing multiple infections at the same time.

“STIs spread predominantly through unprotected sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some — including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis — can also be transmitted during pregnancy and childbirth, or, in the case of syphilis, through contact with infected blood or blood products, and injecting drug use,” the bulletin warned.

According to him, the STIs can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV, if untreated.

STIs remain a persistent and endemic health threat worldwide, but they are preventable through safe sexual practices and sexual health education.


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