Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a worldwide problem, and millions of new infections come up each year.
But just how widespread are STDs nowadays, and what programs do we have to fight the spread of such serious diseases?
Let’s dig deeper into this topic.
What are STDs?
STDs, as the name implies, are diseases often — not exclusively — transmitted through sexual intercourse.
STDs are serious illnesses and are also among the most common contagious diseases.
You can get STDs through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and contact with moist objects handled by an infected person.
You risk catching STDs if you:
- Have more than one sexual partner
- Have sexual relations with someone with more than one sexual partner
- Have unprotected sex
- Share needles with another person (drug use)
The most common examples of STDs are:
- Genital Herpes
- Genital Warts
- Hepatitis B
How widespread are STDs around the world?
STDs Around the World
The following are the numbers that tell the story of STD infections around the world.
- The first record of a widespread European outbreak was in 1494 when syphilis broke out among troops attacking Naples during the Italian war.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were around 24,000 HIV-infected youth (13 – 24 years old) in the US in 2007.
- In Norway, the number of STD cases increased from 2016 to 2017 by 28% and 19%, respectively.
- Chlamydia in Norway peaked in 2018, where there were 502 chlamydia infections per hundred thousand people.
- Iceland had the highest rate of chlamydia among Scandinavian countries in 2017 with 649 cases per 100,000 population.
According to the World Health Organization, the annual total of new STD infections in adults is 333 million. Its estimates also include:
- 12 million new cases annually for syphilis
- 62 million for gonorrhea
- 809 million for chlamydial infections
- 170 million for trichomoniasis
- 20 million for herpetic infection
Overall, STDs remain quite common. However, new interventions and treatments have been launched to combat further cases.
Programs and Treatments
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of STDs, you must take certain tests including:
- Blood tests
- Urine samples
- Fluid samples
Meanwhile, not all STDs require the same treatment. Bacterial STDs are fairly easier to treat while viral infections are not always cured
Common treatments include:
- Antibiotics – can cure many bacterial STDs and parasitic infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
- Antiviral drugs – antiviral drugs are for herpes and HIV. Antiviral drugs can lower the risk of HIV transmission, but they cannot cure the disease.
How to Prevent STDs
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Use the following ways to prevent catching STDs.
- Always practice safe sex
- Pack male and female condoms
- Wash before and after intercourse
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and undergarments
- Avoid behavior that increases the risk of STD transmission
- Viral STDs can be prevented through vaccination
If you’re traveling to other Scandinavian countries, read the latest stories about health issues. The same goes for traveling elsewhere.
If you suspect that you have been in contact with an infected person, or if you’re experiencing early signs and symptoms of any STD, get tested immediately and inform your sexual partner/s of the results right away.