STIs are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can also be spread through non-sexual means such as via blood or blood products. Many STIs—including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, primarily hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis—can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
More than 1 million STI’s are acquired every day. Each year, there are estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STI’s: chlamydia (131 million), gonorrhoea (78 million), syphilis (5.6 million) and trichomoniasis (143 million).
Below are some key facts reported by the WHO:
- More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
- Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
- More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (1).
- The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
- STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
- Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 2012.
- In some cases, STI’s can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission)
- Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhoea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STI’s worldwide.
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