The World Health Organization (who) estimates that more than 340 million new cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIS) occur annually in the world. Chlamydia is the most common cause, especially in adolescents and young adults. Up to 80% of the cases no symptoms, which facilitates their spread.

Expert: Mary Alexandra Calvo, gíneco-ob Network Health UC

Dr. Maria Alexandra Calvo, gíneco-ob Network Health UC, explains that the number of people affected has increased significantly in recent years, in part attributed to the sexual liberation of the population and an increase in growing of young adults are sexually active.

It has also influenced the best epidemiological knowledge of these conditions, the progress of microbiological studies as well as the progress and the development of new technologies and diagnostic, which have helped to clarify the commitment, the extent and consequences of STIS.

It is estimated that in the United States for at least 12 million people acquire an STI every year, and some authorities estimate that more than 35% of the north american acquired-at least - an STI when you reach 35 years of age. “The STI is considered as 1 of the infectious diseases of greatest incidence and prevalence worldwide, and are listed prominently among the group of diseases called emerging and re-emerging,” says the specialist.

In Chile, during 2007, the mortality rate of HIV was 2.4 per 100,000 thousand inhabitants, “a figure that has gradually declined thanks to the coverage of antiretroviral therapy, almost 100% of infected patients”, says the dra. Calvo.

Most common STIS

The frequency and type of STI is directly related to the number of sex partners. Mostly affect the single living alone, then living together and finally married.

“The age group most affected in the last few years is that of the 20 to 44 years of age. The highest point of notification occurs between 20 and 29 years, stabilized between 40 and 34 and then begins to descend gradually,” says dr. Calvo. To make the analysis by sex, added, infections are concentrated more in women, which is likely explained by the high screening of the female population in the pregnancy and in the controls gynecological.

In our country, despite the fact that the infections are quite varied, the most common are infection due to human papilloma virus (as condyloma genital), followed by syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Of all reported cases, says the specialist, condyloma acuminate (genital warts) , and syphilis in all its forms are the most frequent diagnoses, which predominate in the regions of Antofagasta, Tarapacá and Valparaíso, and affect preference to homemakers and students.

Calvo emphasizes that STIS should not be seen as a pathology in isolation, because multiple infection is frequent and the presence of one STI denotes high-risk of acquiring another infection, sometimes of greater importance and significance that 1° is diagnosed.

How to recognize the different types of Sexually Transmitted Infections?

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): generally no symptoms, but some women develop in the vulvar area a number of warts, asymptomatic, single or multiple that forces them to consult the gynaecologist. At other times, HPV causes lesions in the cervix that can lead to, finally, cancer of the cervix.
  • Syphilis: it Is a disease that, at first, produces an injury ulcerated, non-painful which is accompanied by increase of volume of the inguinal lymph nodes and if not treated can evolve into any of its other stages and compromise to the central nervous system. It is one of the infectious diseases that also affect the fetus in case of pregnant women, who are born with congenital syphilis.
  • Gonorrhea: it can Also be asymptomatic. In some women manifests as a “cervicitis” or inflammation of the neck of the uterus and that in its most severe forms produces tables severe, with involvement of general condition and damage of the fallopian Tubes, which compromises the fertility of the woman.
  • Chlamydia: it may Also be asymptomatic or present with pictures little flashy of vulvovaginitis or cervicitis. But it can also produce boxes severe as a peritonitis pelvic. He is considered today one of the leading infectious causes of damage of the fallopian tubes and female infertility.
  • Hepatitis B: also Shared other avenues of contagion in addition to the sexual and produces a box inflammation of the liver of varying duration and severity that can lead to fulminant hepatitis, the development of chronic hepatitis and even liver cancer and death. It is an infection that is also transmitted vertically to the fetus, which can bring serious consequences and for which there is no definitive treatment at present.
  • HIV-Aids: it Is today a chronic disease of sexual transmission, which can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. Some symptoms can be very general, however, it is necessary to consult a person who has not yet developed symptoms as well as in patients who display symptoms that are very general such as fatigue, fever, increased volume of lymph nodes, weight loss, and the development of “opportunistic” infections by germs rare. Its proper management and treatment at present has allowed us to reduce dramatically the risk of transmission from mother to fetus during gestation.

How do I prevent it?

The only way to prevent is:

  • educating the patients
  • informing them of a clear and simple way the existence of diseases that are transmitted through the sexual activity
  • encouraging clearly the systematic use of the condom.

The prevention and control of STIS is based on 5 main concepts:

  1. education to the population in relation to the ways in which it reduces the risk of acquiring an STI
  2. screening of asymptomatic patients
  3. diagnosis and effective treatment in infected people
  4. assessment, treatment and advice of the sexual partner
  5. vaccination pre-exposure of people at risk of acquiring an STI, which is preventable by vaccine

He adds, “keep in mind that 1 of the most important problems in these infections is the high percentage of carrying asymptomatic agent, which facilitates the spread of the disease, the absence of diagnosis and -therefore - treatment, with the consequences and sequelae that it entails, not to mention the high costs, both economic and emotional that this generates for patients, their families and for the State.”

The dra. Calvo argues that “all those people with active sex life who wish to be tested for STIS can ask your doctor,” he says.

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