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. 1993 Mar;38(1):12-4.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the Age of AIDS

  • PMID: 8477483

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the Age of AIDS

S J Wimalawansa. Ceylon Med J. .


Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are common illnesses in the world. There is at least one new sexually transmitted disease consultation for every 100 persons a year in industrialised countries. Today the World Health Organisation estimates that there are 250 million new cases of STD every year world-wide, and over 20 distinct pathogens are currently recognised. While the overall incidence of STD have remained high in industrialised countries, the rates of increase of many bacterial STD such as syphilis and gonorrhoea were beginning to stabilise; but currently there is again a trend for these bacterial STD to rise in urban populations.

PIP: WHO estimates 250 million new cases worldwide of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year. STDs of growing concern are chlamydial infections responsible for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and pneumonia and ophthalmia in newborns, and incurable viral infections, including Herpes simplex virus, human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B virus, and HIV infection. HPV types 16 and 18 are associated with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, one of the most serious complication of STDs. PID is another serious STD complication because it tends to recur and causes chronic abdominal pain, eventually resulting in hysterectomy, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic backache. STDs adversely affect pregnancy, often leading to ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, prematurity, congenital and perinatal infections, and puerperal maternal infections. Genital ulcer diseases, e.g., chancroid, facilitate HIV transmission. HIV infection boosts the virulence of STD pathogens, e.g., Herpes simplex virus. Many people with STDs are asymptomatic and the clinical profile of STDs is always in flux, thus resulting in less than optimal case detection. Obstacles of STD treatment include antibiotic resistance of betalactamase-producing Neisseria gonorrhoea strains and the immunocompromising effect of HIV infections. Tourists are responsible for introducing HIV infection into many countries. Some countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia) require a negative HIV test before foreigners can work in those countries. Health resources are not keeping up with the spread of STDs and HIV. Governments should embark on health education campaigns to stem the spread of HIV. They should also integrate AIDS prevention with the control of other STDs.

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