Syphilis cases have skyrocketed in Europe, are more common in some countries than new cases of HIV infection, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Syphilis – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017 published in 2019, 33 189 confirmed syphilis cases were reported in 28 EU/EEA Member States. Reported syphilis rates were nine times higher in men than in women and peaked among 25–34-year-old men. Two-thirds of syphilis cases with information on transmission category were reported in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Increased by 70 percent since 2010

Syphilis wake-up call

Syphilis by Dürer

The trend in syphilis rates has been on the rise since 2011, particularly among men, mainly due to an increase in the number of cases among MSM. The slight increase of syphilis rates among women, seen already in 2016, continued in 2017. The slight increase of syphilis rates among women, seen already in 2016, continued in 2017. According to their findings, cases of this sexually transmitted disease (STD) have increased by 70 percent since 2010. The increase, as they point out, is due to more unprotected sex and riskier sexual behavior among gay men. In total, more than 260,000 cases of syphilis were reported in 30 countries between 2007 and 2017. In 2017, syphilis rates reached their highest level since records began, with more than 33,000 cases reported. This means that for the first time since Europe recorded more cases of syphilis than new cases of HIV infection (see more HERE).

Syphilis wake-up call in Spain

First shock measure 

World Health Organization has warned of more than 1 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every day around the world. In a new report, the UN agency spoke of a “wake-up” call in the age of dating apps.

In this sense, in Spain, videos and ads have been posted on social networks, music platforms and media that 14- to 29-year-olds most follow.  “The use of condoms has dropped among the 15- to 18-year-olds over the last few years,” Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo told reporters.

She said there was complacency over STI, including infection by the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The campaign is a “first shock measure” to challenge the rise of STI among young people.

Syphilis “reached its highest peak since the start of statistics in Spain: 10.61 infections per 100,000 residents compared to 2.57 in 1995.” five times more! (see more HERE)

Bioethical point of view

Aggressive campaigns that, in the name of safe sex, promote early and promiscuous sexual relations, together with the increased demand for post-coital contraceptives, their promotion, availability free of charge, and absence of control in their prescription and dispensation may be behind this sharp rise in the prevalence of serious STDS, such as the one that concerns us now. Rethinking sexual-affective education and the institutional information given to the population – especially young people – seems to be an outstanding issue that is essential for control of these diseases.

Read related article Increase in neonatal syphilis in the United States


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