By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Countries have been called upon to make sexually transmitted infections (STIs) treatment facilities accessible, in view of their rising cases and risks
World Health Organisation (WHO) made the wake-up call because its research showed that there are more than one million new cases of curable STIs among people aged 15 to 49 years, every day.
According to WHO, the above figure amounts to 376 million new cases annually of four infections, namely: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
“We’re seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide.
“This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat this debilitating disease,” Dr. Peter Salama, Executive Director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO said.
These STIs have profound impact on the health of adults and children worldwide, WHO warned.
“If untreated”, it highlighted, “they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, ectopic pregnancy, still births, and increased risk of HIV. They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.”
WHO stressed that STIs remain a persistent and endemic health threat worldwide.
STIs spread predominantly through unprotected sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex, the global authority on public health pointed out.
“Some – including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis – can also be transmitted during pregnancy and childbirth, or, in the case of syphilis, through contact with infected blood or blood products, and injecting drug use, WHO elaborated.
It said that STIs are preventable through safe sexual practices, including correct and consistent condom use and sexual health education.
WHO declared, “Timely and affordable testing and treatment are crucial for reducing the burden of STIs globally, alongside efforts to encourage people who are sexually active to get screened for STIs.”
WHO further recommended that pregnant women should be systematically screened for syphilis as well as HIV.