Its alarming that sexually transmitted infections or STI are affecting millions of people annually with the trend not slowing down. The World Health Organization said in its latest report that the four most common STI among men and women between the age of 15 to 49 is chlamydia having the highest occurrence with 127 million new cases in just one year, 87 milllion cases of gonorrhea, 156 million of trichomoniasis and over six million of new syphilis cases worldwide. This means that more than a million individuals are being diagnosed with STI on a daily basis, and about 41,000 new cases hourly, close to 700 cases per minute and 11 individual gets infected every second.
Dr. Peter Salama of the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement said that “we’re seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide.” The data from the previous four years show that the trend in sexually transmitted infections are not going down but has remained relatively the same in number with one out of every 25 people being infected with at least one of the four most prevalent cases worldwide.
Dr Salama in her statement added “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 disease.”
World Health organization in its official website www.who.int says that there are close to 30 pathogens and bacteria known that are acquired through sexual activities. So far eight has been identified as having the highest incidence. Of the eight , only four are curable: Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other four are viral infections: Hepatitis B, HIV, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Herpes Simplex are unfortunately incurable. However, measures or medications are available to slow down or prevent the disease from aggressively progressing.
STI’s are predominantly transmitted via sexual contact through an exchange of vaginal or anal fluid. In some cases, these STI’s are transmitted through non sexual activities such as blood transfusion of infected blood, sharing of needle and from mother to child.
What’s scary about all these is the fact that symptoms of the disease may only appear in its late stage and the individual may have unknowingly transmitted the pathogen to his/her partner already before the disease gets diagnosed.
With the alarming data available, World Health Organization is urging those who are sexually active to be wary of the health and wellbeing of their partners. To adhere to safe sexual practices. WHO says that condoms is safe when used properly and accurately? Counselling and educating those at high risk such as sex workers, men having sex with men and those using needles to inject drugs are very important. Teaching them how to recognize early signs and symptoms can play a big role in reducing STI cases.
Perhaps, the single positive news about all this: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis are now curable. However, resistance to some antibiotic such as in gonorrhea has increased over the years which is decreasing treatment options with gonorrhea.