Sexually transmitted infections, increase in post-pandemic infections

Sexually transmitted infections, increase in post-pandemic infections

Controls and tests have decreased during the pandemic period and today there is a fear of an increase in infections of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This is why it is better to sound an alarm bell now, at the beginning of summer, a period in which undoubtedly the relationship between individuals and occasional sexual intercourse is growing.

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The topic was addressed at the ICAR Congress (Italian Conference on AIDS and Antiviral Research), which closes today in Bergamo, where it was emphasized that the tests carried out for STIs have decreased by about a third with the pandemic, with subsequent diagnoses. late.

When we talk about sexually transmitted infections we are talking about HIV, papilloma virus, viral hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydial syphilis. In the coming weeks the updated data framework will be published by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, for now there is only an increase among males in the number of diagnoses of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

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In the general picture there seems to be an increase in the transmissibility of the virus and a decrease in prevention. The spread of the chlamydia for example, caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, is growing all over the world, including Italy. It is an infection difficult to diagnose, sometimes asymptomatic or with mild manifestations that go unnoticed, but the consequences can be serious: infertility problems, pelvic inflammatory disease, complications in pregnancy with risks of transmission to the child and subsequent onset of problems for the newborn. Antibiotic treatment is required to cure it.

The second most transmitted infection in the world, the gonorrhea, is that due to gonococcus and even here the consequences can be heavy: infertility, extrauterine pregnancies, increased transmissibility of other diseases such as HIV, urethritis, proctitis. In the United States, worrying antibiotic resistance is developing.


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In Italy it is the syphilis the most transmitted bacterial infection, with 1631 cases reported in 2017 and a 35% increase over two years earlier. Fortunately, there is effective antibiotic therapy.

Vaccinations for the papilloma virus (HPV) decreased over the course of 2020, while they are essential for the prevention of this infection especially if made to young people between 12-13 years and in any case by the age of 26. It is a very contagious infection, even through an incomplete intimate relationship. Papilloma virus is oncogenic and associated with 99% of cervical cancers, 90% of anal canal cancers, 75% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, 70% of head and neck cancers and 60% than those of the penis.

During the congress, the emphasis was also placed on chemsex (chemical sex), phenomenon born in Great Britain, which is equivalent to the use of toxic substances to increase the duration of sexual performance. Not only that, it induces a more uninhibited behavior and disinhibits and alters the perception of risk, thus increasing the possibility of infection.

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