WHO: over 1 million new sexually transmitted infections occur daily

  • World Health Organization
  • World Health Organization
  • 6 Jun 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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  • WHO reports that more than 1 million new curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in people ages 15-49 years occur daily.
  • This translates into 357 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis annually.

Why this matters

  • Proactive sexual health education and history-taking, coupled with early diagnosis and treatment, are critical to improve overall STI burden.
  • WHO now recommends systematic syphilis and HIV screening in pregnant women; syphilis alone caused ~200,000 stillbirths, newborn deaths in 2016.
  • Reduction of HIV lags behind Healthy People 2020 targets; clinicians should encourage routine HIV screening among at-risk patients,  preexposure prophylaxis uptake, and timely treatment.

Key points

  • Overall, HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs are associated with 2.8 million deaths annually.
  • HIV acquisitions have declined but not rapidly enough; HIV prevention is insufficient.
  • Significantly increased testing for hepatitis B and C is needed to reduce exceptionally high mortality rates.
  • In the Americas specifically, 27/33 countries have adopted WHO’s "treat all" HIV antiretroviral therapy recommendations; 61% have included dolutegravir in guidelines.
  • Treatment coverage for syphilis among pregnant women increased to ~90% (2016-2017).
  • 15 countries have implemented national hepatitis action plans; US key actions include reducing new infections, deaths and health disparities, and regular surveillance.

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