The world has seen a resurgence in some of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Syphilis is one of them.
We already discussed the growing syphilis infection rates in Thailand and the prospects of dating websites potentially contributing to the propagation of STIs. Since then, several reports have come from different parts of the world, painting a similarly grim picture.
Japan’s Syphilis Escalation
In August 2019, Japan became one of the countries to report an increase in the number of newly diagnosed syphilis cases.
According to the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 4,009 new syphilis cases have been diagnosed in the country until August 2019. The biggest number of new diagnoses occurred in large cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Aichi.
Japan is one of the countries to report a record number of new syphilis cases per year. The country reached some of the highest infection rates ever, topping 6,000 new diagnoses over the course of 2018.
The number of new syphilis infections in Japan in 2018 was the highest one since 1970.
The Situation in Canada
It seems that the growth of syphilis diagnoses is a global phenomenon. Canadian reports present figures similar to those recorded in Japan.
In July 2019, it was reported that the rate of all common STDs has increased. Canada saw growth in the new syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia rates and experts believe that declining condom use is partially to blame for the phenomenon.
Over the past few years, Canada actually registered a dip in syphilis diagnoses. The trend was reversed in 2019 with several territories reporting a big number of new diagnosed infections. The situation is most pressing in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
In Manitoba, the number of new syphilis diagnoses reached 176 in 2018 and so far in 2019, there have been 100 confirmed cases. These numbers represent a massive increase from only 10 confirmed cases of syphilis in 2014.
According to experts, condom use in Canada has been declining among the general population for years. The trend is also valid for high risk groups of individuals like men having sex with men. Psychologists report that recent medical advances in the treatment of STDs aren’t the reason why people are engaging in risky sexual behaviours. Rather, sexual education omissions and the embarrassment linked to buying contraceptives are still standing in the way of young people protecting themselves adequately.
Europe Reports a 70 Per Cent Syphilis Diagnosis Increase Since 2010
European countries have witnessed similarly alarming trends.
The number of new syphilis diagnoses has been consistently growing in European countries since 2010. The rise has been mostly affecting men who have sex with men in the urban areas.
In 2017, EU reached an all-time high in syphilis diagnoses. The number of new confirmed infections during the year was 33,000. In the period from 2007 to 2017, EU member countries reported over 260,000 new infections.
In 2010, the European infection rate was 4.2 syphilis cases per 100,000 people. By 2017, the infection rate had reached 7.1 cases per 100,000 people – an increase of almost 70 per cent over the course of just seven years.
Iceland is the country that saw the greatest increase in syphilis diagnoses from 2010 to 2017 – 876 per cent! Ireland follows with 224 per cent, the UK comes in third with an increase of 153 per cent. Other countries that witnessed a rapid increase in the rate of syphilis diagnoses include Germany (144 per cent) and Malta (123 per cent).
New infections seem to affect men much more than they do women. From 2007 to 2017, nearly two thirds of the new infections were diagnosed among men who have sex with men.
Heterosexual men contributed to 23 per cent of the new syphilis diagnoses and 15 per cent of the new confirmed cases of the STI affected women.
Syphilis: Easily Preventable and Treatable
Abstinence and safe sexual practices are the best choices for reducing the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Other responsible behaviours to adopt, especially if a person is sexually active, include regular STD testing and the selection of the right treatment measures in the case of a positive result.
While STDs are still somewhat of a taboo in Singapore, most of them are treatable.
Syphilis is one of the medical conditions that can be addressed adequately through contemporary medical measures.
The condition is relatively easy to cure in its early stages, which is why authorities across the globe are calling out for regular testing. A single shot of penicillin or other antibiotics will be sufficient to address primary, secondary and even early latent syphilis.
When it is unaddressed, the infection can have long-lasting consequences. Over the years, syphilis can develop into various life-threatening conditions. It can contribute to nervous system disorders, heart disease, mental disorders and blindness. Syphilis has also been known to lead to pregnancy complications. If you are trying to get pregnant or you’re already expecting a child, you’ll need to get tested as soon as possible to avoid risks.
Syphilis testing and treatment options are readily available in Singapore. Shim Clinic is a STD clinic where you can get adequate information, testing and consultations on the best treatment options for common STIs.
We offer a private and confidential service that delivers fast results. Visit us during the Shim Clinic opening hours to acquaint yourself with the range of solutions we offer or to get tested.