“An average of 10 people a week come in for an STI test”

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or sexually transmitted infections, have a profound impact on sexual and reproductive health worldwide. More than one million people contract a sexually transmitted infection every day.

Information, education, and counseling can improve the ability to recognize symptoms, thereby increasing the likelihood that sexual partners will seek care or be encouraged to seek care. Unfortunately, gaps in people’s knowledge, lack of training of health personnel and the widespread and entrenched stigma surrounding STIs continue to make it difficult for these interventions to be used more effectively.

The Municipality of Ceuta has a Sexual Affective Unit, which was proposed under the Plan for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections. As a first priority, its role is to provide information and advice to the population on such infections.

It is a center for information, advice, and early preventive diagnosis, especially for those who are more vulnerable to certain infections, such as prostitutes, immigrants, etc. However, anyone from Ceuta must be aware of the existence of this center, regardless of their situation, if they wish, they can make an appointment to attend the center and their questions will be dealt with by the unit team.

The newspaper reached out to Sexuality to see first-hand the progress made in preventing STIs among young people this summer.

Nurse Erin Lopez confirms that “from the beginning of July to now, almost the end of August, we have a high percentage of young people every week, even students who come to Ceuta in the summer to take advantage of the holidays” and they use our resources Come collect the condoms and have a diagnostic test. “

“Cases of syphilis are increasing across the country, and there are some cases in Ceuta,” Lopez said, noting that given the rise in sexually transmitted infections, “young people have increased awareness of the problem and come to The department rules. We average about 10 people a week who come for testing,” the nurse said, saying the number was “pretty high compared to other months of the year.”

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A reality, says Irene Lopez, is that “a part of the Moroccan population also went to the center to be tested, driven by the information found on the website, which indicated that the tests were completely free, anonymous and confidential.

By appointment, 08:00 am to 03:00 pm in winter and 08:00 am to 02:00 pm in summer, a small sexual health “checkup” for any citizen who wants to reassure, address a risk situation or just wants to be informed, You can visit the facility to be tested for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis C, the latter being recently introduced, expanding the services offered.

According to the action plan, people aged 16 and over sign a consent form stating that early diagnosis will be carried out, and a small blood sample will be taken through a finger prick so that various tests can be carried out. “I don’t need any data other than the person’s profile: demographics like age, gender,” the worker detailed.

Lopez said the department intends to “increasingly incorporate more diagnostic tests, whether it’s chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other types of sexually transmitted infection tests.” In 2022, there will be 8 more cases. Similarly, in 2022, there will be 4 cases associated with syphilis; and with regard to HIV, only 2”. It is worth noting that the unit provides condoms, not only for men, but also for women. The nurse emphasized that “some girls come and ask about HPV, the human papillomavirus. Corresponding detection for such viruses.”

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Irene López, who has been working in this profession for more than 20 years, especially in this field, emphasizes that “young people who come here value the They were kind of lost.” “I think people who come here for an early diagnosis end up relaxing because they find a space in this center where they can go; a unit where they can listen, Instruct and get tested for HIV, syphilis and now hepatitis C.”

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