The Unexamined Life

1 Million STD Cases Diagnosed Per Day, WHO Data Reveals

The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed worldwide statistics that showed more than one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are contracted every day. The most common ones are gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

According to the latest statistics by WHO, there are more than 376 million new sexually transmitted infection cases annually. Last Thursday, lead author of the report and medical epidemiologist at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research Dr. Melanie Taylor suggested that the numbers prove people are taking dangerous risks with their reproductive health and sexuality. She also noted that the figures represented cases, but not the number of people having STIs since individuals are susceptible to re-infection within a year of more than one infection.

The four most common STIs in the survey were gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and syphilis. Moreover, one in every 25 people worldwide is infected with one of these infections, and they sometimes develop into sexually transmitted diseases.

In the U.K., there is an increasing number of gonorrhea cases and this poses a particular concern. In fact, head of the Drug-Resistant Infection program at the U.K. medical research charity Wellcome Dr. Tim Jinks claimed that last year, they referred to the STI epidemic as “super gonorrhea” since the bacteria had been more challenging to treat, reported CNN. He also expects that there would be a rise of drug-resistant forms of the disease.

Taylor added that STIs are treatable with antibiotics. It is, however, difficult to properly treat patients since some do not exhibit symptoms of certain STIs. In fact, some of the infected patients remain unaware of their condition and do not go in for testing and treatment. Thus, there is a higher risk of transmitting the disease. She added that shame and stigma are associated with the infections that mothers may sometimes transfer the bacteria to their infants without knowing that they have it. Thus, the spread of STIs is considered a “hidden epidemic.”

STIs are transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. Infants contract the diseases from their mothers, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.  The latter is also transferrable when coming in contact with infected blood. If left untreated, these diseases could cause stillbirths, ectopic pregnancy and an increased risk of developing HIV.

Gonorrhea A man with the common sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. Darko Djurin/Pixabay