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In the first instinct, when someone learns this about the disease, he does not believe it

MedExpress Team

Published Oct. 11, 2023 09:32

In the first instinct, when someone learns this about the disease, he does not believe it - Header image
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The last 10 years have seen a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Data from the National Institute of Public Health PZH-BIP confirm the alarming trend. From January to the end of August, 941 cases of gonorrhea were detected. In the whole of last year there were 600, and 287 the year before. In the same period as many as 2,038 cases of syphilis were reported, of which there were 1,000 in the whole of last year. According to data from the National AIDS Center, the number of HIV-infected people is growing, with 18,200 people receiving treatment at the end of 2022. The number of those infected by the heterosexual route is growing, and more and more pregnant women are finding out that they have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease. However, these numbers do not tell the whole story about the level of infection, as they only refer to cases that have been diagnosed, reported and registered. Many people live in ignorance that they are infected. Some patients are treated in private practices or non-public medical consortiums. These cases, despite the legal obligation to report such diseases, are not always reported to the Sanitary Inspectorate. Ewelina Sadecka, M.D., a nurse, epidemiology specialist, who cooperates with the Social Education Foundation as a counselor of the HIV/AIDS, free and anonymous Consultation and Diagnostic Point, argues that only education and regular testing of people who engage in risky sexual contacts can stop the spread of infections and thus reduce the number of new cases.

Barbara Mietkowska: Which sexually transmitted disease is the most dangerous? Why should infections not be underestimated?

Ewelina Sadecka: Any untreated disease is dangerous, as it brings many losses. It leads to a significant deterioration of health, affects well-being and interpersonal relations. But above all, it contributes to its transmission to our sexual partners.

Underestimating the problem will always result in a health crisis, but also a crisis in relationships. When engaging in sexual activity, not all infections can be prevented. Therefore, it turns out to be essential to know how to protect yourself and that the sooner the infection is detected, the sooner it can be cured. And, in the case of HIV, inhibit the growth of the virus in our bodies.

It seems that basic measures to protect against infection are widely available. So why is there an increase in sexually transmitted diseases?

It can be said that the increase in infections is always fostered by a lack of knowledge about diseases. In this particular case, the lack of education by competent people is important. According to the latest statistics of the National Institute of Hygiene, Poland is experiencing an increase in syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia. Some people are not at all aware of the health risks posed by these diseases and are unaware of how infection occurs. The pandemic contributed to the increases because people did not get tested during the lockdown period. And, of course, the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Among Ukrainians, there are people with newly diagnosed HIV infection, but also those who were previously treated and need to continue treatment in Poland. However, before the war and before the pandemic we also saw a steady increase in newly detected HIV infections. This is probably related to lifestyle changes. In the absence of systemic differentiated prevention and education, we cannot expect a decline in infections.

Are the infected more in big cities? Do more patients c...

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