Before this day is done, a million people around the world will catch a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
The World Health Organization calls STDs a “persistent and endemic health threat” that can have a profound impact on both adult and child health.
If left untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects. Among them, neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and an increased risk of HIV.
“This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.”– Dr. Peter Salama, WHO executive director for universal health coverage
Four infections account for a combined total of more than 376 million new cases annually – chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis. Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016.
The vast majority of these infections are preventable and curable, though some, especially gonorrhea, are evolving into superbugs that are increasingly difficult to treat with antibiotics.