The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday released an alarming report which has indicated that more than 1 million new cases of curable Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are being recorded on a daily basis worldwide among people aged 15-49 years.
This amounts to more than 376 million new cases annually of four infections – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
Universal Health Coverage executive director, Dr Peter Salama said 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.
“We’re seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide,” said Dr Salama.
According to WHO, 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.
If untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV infections.
STIs are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.
“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,” said Dr Salama.
Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200 000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally.
Sexually transmitted infections are among the most common communicable conditions and affect the health and lives of people worldwide.
Moreover, people with sexually transmitted infections often experience stigma, stereotyping, vulnerability, shame and gender-based violence.