Over a Million People a Day Get Sexually Transmitted Infections: WHOExpert Advice Sexual Health

June 08, 2019 17:32
Over a Million People a Day Get Sexually Transmitted Infections: WHO

More than a million people every day across the world catch a sexually transmitted infection, with rates of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and syphilis the most distressing, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The majority of the infections are preventable and curable, but some diseases like gonorrhea are evolving into super-bug forms and that is more and more challenging to treat with antibiotics, the WHO said in a report.

“Sexually transmitted infections are everywhere. They are far more common than we think,” Teodora Wi, a medical officer in the WHO’s department for reproductive health and research, told reporters as the data were released.

According to a report based on 2016 global data, among men and women aged between 15 and 49, there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 6.3 million of syphilis, 87 million of gonorrhea, and 156 million of trichomoniasis.

STIs are a “persistent and endemic health threat worldwide” and have a profound impact on both adult and child health, the WHO said.

If they are left untreated, they can lead to an earnest and chronic health effects that include cardiovascular and neurological disease, infertility, stillbirths, ectopic pregnancy, and an increased risk of HIV.

Syphilis alone caused around 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss across the world, the research said.

Peter Salama, the WHO’s executive director for universal health coverage, said the data showed the need for “a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.”

Sexual infections caused by bacteria can usually be treated and cured with widely accessible medicines, but the WHO study said recent shortages in the global supply of benzathine penicillin had made it tougher to control syphilis. Rising drug resistance to gonorrhea treatments is also a growing health threat.

Tim Jinks, a specialist in infectious disease at Britain’s Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the increase in cases of STIs was alarming, especially given that some antibiotics are becoming less effective due to drug resistance.

“The high numbers of cases of gonorrhea are of particular concern,” he said in an emailed comment. “We are increasingly seeing incidences of so-called ‘super-gonorrhea’ which are practically impossible to treat.”

The study and data were published online in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

By Sowmya Sangam

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