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June 13, 2019

1m people acquiring STIs every day: WHO


June 13, 2019

Islamabad: Data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week point to more than 1 million new cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) every single day among people aged 15-49 years. This translates to an annual 376 million new cases of four infections—chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis. The wake-up call should suffice for governments to institute concerted action aimed so that the services needed for prevention of these debilitating diseases are available to everyone, everywhere.

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

These STIs, which remain a persistent health threat worldwide, profoundly impact the health of adults and children worldwide. Left untreated, they can lead to serious health issues such as neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV. They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.

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 1 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 through unprotected sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some—including chlamydia, gonorrhea, 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. These infections are preventable through safe sexual practices and sexual health education.

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