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Health. Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming more common in Europe – ECDC

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The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing alarmingly across Europe, reports the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). For some diseases, the number of infections increased by almost half during the year.

On March 7, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published the latest data on sexually transmitted diseases in Europe. They show that in 2022 there will be a “disturbing increase in cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia” throughout the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

SEE ALSO: The actual effectiveness of drugs protecting against HIV was checked. The first such study

Increase in infections in Europe

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According to ECDC, the number of gonorrhea cases increased by almost half (48%) during the year and reached over 70,000 in 2022. The number of syphilis infections increased by 34%, reaching over 35,000, and the number of chlamydia infections increased by 16%. to over 216 thousand cases. The number of cases of lymphoma venereale (LGV) and congenital syphilis, resulting from the transmission of the disease from the mother to the fetus, has also increased significantly.

In Poland alone, in 2022, 1,992 cases of syphilis, 556 cases of gonorrhea, 517 cases of chlamydiosis and one case of congenital syphilis were recorded. No cases of LGV have been reported.

The report emphasizes that such a sudden and significant increase in the number of infections indicates an urgent need to increase awareness of and protect against sexually transmitted diseases, as well as to strengthen prevention, access to tests and effective treatment. “The numbers paint a clear picture that requires our immediate attention and action,” said Andrea Ammon, director of ECDC, during a press conference presenting the new data.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Experts point to two main reasons for the increase in the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases – an increase in riskier sexual behavior and better methods of testing and detecting such diseases. They point out that the number of infections among young heterosexual people, especially women, has increased, which they attribute to a change in their sexual behavior after the pandemic.

Researchers remind that during Covid-19, the increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases stopped for a while, but in recent years their increase has generally been observed. At the same time, Ammon pointed out that the released data is likely only the “tip of the iceberg” because many infections remain undetected.

How to prevent infection

Sexually transmitted diseases, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. Some of them may be related to infertility or neurological and cardiovascular problems. They can also be a source of chronic pain, but in many cases they do not cause any symptoms.

The use of condoms is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent infection with the disease. In addition, experts point out the need to make people aware of potential threats. “We must prioritize sex education, increase access to testing and treatment, and combat stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases,” Ammon said.

SEE ALSO: The worst year ever. Record number of HIV infections in Poland

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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