this sexually transmitted infections Spain is going through an emerging phase, with exponential growth in gonorrhea and apparently uncontrolled, albeit smaller, growth in syphilis, two such diseases included in the online report. Epidemiological Bulletin of the Carlos III Institute of Health.
According to the source, Transmission rates for both diseases tripled The number has increased over four years, from 8,327 cases reported in 2019 to 27,064 in the first 10 months of this year, and if it continues, the number will eventually reach significantly more than 30,000 cases, almost as many as those recorded Four times.
In both cases, there was a significant decline in 2020, which coincided with Reduce sexual contact Due to the isolation and movement restrictions caused by the pandemic, 2021 will return to similar levels as in 2019 and then surge: the number of gonorrhea infections will double in 2022 and will increase again this year. Syphilis increased by 41% month-on-month and by 23% in the remaining two months.
The explosive growth of sexually transmitted infections, Only gonorrhea (67 cases) and syphilis (24 cases) have more than 90 daily cases, It also occurs in other diseases, such as chlamydia, with nearly 25,000 cases reported last year, a 21% increase, while other diseases such as HIV, lymphogranuloma venereum and Hepatitis B Their prevalence is much lower, with hundreds of positive cases per case.
What is the reason for this increase? “There is not one factor but a combination of factors that are responsible for this growth,” he explains. Javier de la FuenteHead of Internal Medicine Services at Ribera de Vigo Hospital and member of the SEMI (Spanish Society of Internal Medicine) STI Working Group.
Among them, the following three points are the most prominent: It is easiest to have sexwhich is associated with increased use of apps that promote it; higher frequency of risky behavior, often associated with Recreational use of psychoactive substances Examples include alcohol and narcotics, which often reduce alert levels and result in less use of physical prevention methods such as condoms.
He noted that “infection rates are increasing dramatically” and that men are infected more than women. The ratio is five to one for gonorrhea and nine to one for syphilis. “Both diseases are more common among men who have sex with men and men in the 25 to 45 age group, while chlamydia is increasing significantly in women under 25 years of age,” he noted.
“Customs about sexual relations have changed; ways to keep them” said the expert.
In this evolution process, it is typical The age of first sexual intercourse is increased Sexual behavior: According to the Department of Health’s latest HBSC research (Health Behavior in School Children), data from 2018 shows that almost 30% of teenagers initiate sexual activity before the age of 15, with similar figures in each of the following two years.
Increased risk of bugs and mischief
A false sense of security and lack of information Risks of certain practices due to lack of experienceIn the age of technology, other factors influencing the increase in infections are emerging.
“Overcoming an STD does not mean you have any immunity”
Javier de la Fuente
“One component of low risk perception makes Not taking adequate precautions“explains Dr. De la Fuente, who describes a clear change in trend: the trend did not decline until 2001, when AIDS awareness emerged, e.g. The contagion of world stars Events like Magic Johnson or Freddie Mercury and similar events «Put it on him, put it on him«, the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections fell to 2.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and has since increased to more than 30 cases today.
One of the most entrenched scams refers to so-called immunizations, which, like other types of diseases, are purportedly contagious. “Overcoming an STD does not mean immunity. “People who have been infected with syphilis can become infected again,” he warned.
The other refers to PREP, which is pre-exposure prophylaxis for people living with HIV, which is drug-based. Reduce the chance of contracting HIV. “It works great for HIV, but not for other sexually transmitted infections,” he clarified, highlighting another fact.
“According to a study by the Ministry of Health, 1.5% of people with sexually transmitted diseases are likely to be HIV carriers” This is obviously a low rate, but if applied to the cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reported last year, then This equates to 780 duplicate risk situations.
Health system diagnoses its flaws
Regardless, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Health, citizens are not the only conducive vectors for infection, as The health system appears to be deeply flawed When dealing with sexually transmitted infections.
“Restricted opening hours, the need for appointments and the lack of anonymous attention may mean Barriers to accessing sexually transmitted infection care For certain particularly vulnerable groups,” the document states, highlighting the heterogeneity of care models in which “Thematic hospital consultation relies on specialized care“And there is very little involvement of primary care services and community medicine.
In addition to this, there are “deficiencies resulting from a lack of resources and dedicated personnel” to care for this type of pathology, and, “Other professional sectors are less well represented STI care outside of medical and nursing professionals. “
Finally, the health document recommends “taking measures Increase access to sexually transmitted infection care By introducing measures such as more flexible opening hours or the possibility of receiving anonymous care, as well as “increasing epidemiological surveillance (…) Increase personal and material resources Carry out effective epidemiological notification and contact studies. “