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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Killing 2.5 Million People Every Year Globally: UN

HIV, viral hepatitis epidemics and STIs continue to pose public health challenges.

A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is raising alarms. Millions of people worldwide are dying each year (around 2.5 million) from diseases like HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

One particular STI, syphilis, is spreading rapidly. New cases skyrocketed in 2022, especially in the Americas and Africa. This is especially concerning because syphilis can be cured, according to the report.

But the WHO believes we have the tools to fight these diseases by 2030. But there’s a catch: countries need to step up their efforts.

“The rising incidence of syphilis raises major concerns,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Fortunately, there has been important progress on a number of other fronts, including accelerating access to critical health commodities, including diagnostics and treatment. We have the tools required to end these epidemics as public health threats by 2030, but we now need to ensure that, in the context of an increasingly complex world, countries do all they can to achieve the ambitious targets they set themselves.”.

Here’s a deeper look at the challenges:

STIs: Four common STIs (syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) are spreading quickly, causing over 1 million new infections daily. Thankfully, these are treatable.

Syphilis: The rise in syphilis cases is partly linked to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s also concern about strains of gonorrhoea that are resistant to most medications.

Viral Hepatitis: New cases of hepatitis B and C remain high, despite treatments being available. Deaths from viral hepatitis are also on the rise.

HIV: While new HIV infections are decreasing slightly, progress is slow. Certain high-risk groups are most affected, and HIV-related deaths remain significant, with a heartbreaking number occurring in children.