UNAM warns about an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, why does it happen?

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sexually transmitted diseases
UNAM estimates an even greater increase in STD cases. | Photo: Getty Images.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) warned that in recent weeks it has been seen in several countries, Mexico included, a significant increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STDs)which can lead to unwanted pregnancies and sequelae that can last a lifetime.

Guadalupe Soto Estrada, a specialist in applied epidemiology at UNAM, pointed out that although before the COVID-19 pandemic there was a constant increase in all Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the country, the confinement caused a decrease very important in the number of cases because some people were not diagnosed in a timely manner.

In 2021, as the lockdown endedthe numbers began to increase gradually. While by 2022 some Sexually Transmitted Diseases had a quite significant increase.

However, the trend, says Soto Estrada, is for cases to increase, because when people leave confinement they resume activities, including risky sexual relations.

“In general, the sexually transmitted infections they are a red light. We know that there is a very significant underreporting of HIV, but we are anticipating that the cases will increase next year. I believe that 2023 will be the moment of opportunity, but also the moment of greatest risk”, indicated the academic.

He also highlighted that, according to an article published in England (Can Sexually Transmitted Diseases Cause Mental Illness?), the increase in sexually transmitted infections pIt could be related to the mental health problems we are having, because there is more unease, anxiety, and more loneliness, which increases risk behaviors.

How much did STDs increase until 2022?

According to data from the bulletin of the General Directorate of Epidemiology, in week 47 of 2021, 9,045 cases were registered. gonorrhea caseswhile in the same week but in 2022, 10,000 cases were reported.

The same thing happened with the acquired syphilisof which there were 9,515 cases, and in 2022 more than 14,000 were reported.

In the case of herpesin 2021 there were 6,609 cases, but in 2022 there were just over eight thousand, while in the case of the vulvovaginitiswhich affects young women more, in 2021, there were 426 thousand 009 cases, but in 2022 the 458 thousand were exceeded.

Regarding the cases of HIVIn 2021, 12,472 had been registered and by 2022, the figure was close to 15,000.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases under surveillance

Currently, the Sexually transmitted diseases that are kept under surveillance are:

  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chancre
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Young adults the most affected by Sexually Transmitted Diseases

In Mexico, the The increase in STDs mainly affects the group of adolescents and young adults, whose ages are between 18 and 45 years, a wide age range in which people are in the reproductive and sexually active stage, indicated the UNAM academic.

Adolescents are the second most important group because they are not only at risk of contracting an infection, but also of unwanted pregnancies, especially in children under 18 years of age, who during this time have had no information or access to medical services.

The specialist also stressed that specific risk groups should not be lost sight of, for example, sex workers and people who have relationships with several partners simultaneously, explains the academic.

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