World Health Organisation (WHO) Issues Warning That Dating Apps Driving Up STD Rates
The WHO has warned that dating apps and sexual health stigma are adding to more than a million new STD infections daily and driving a surge of untreatable superbug strains.There are currently more than 376 million new diagnoses a year of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis among people under 50.
While most of these infections are treatable, drug resistance is growing with gonorrhea being impossible to treat in a matter of time.
“There is now very high rates of gonorrhea resistant to first line of drugs such quinolone antibiotics and its emerging as problem with alternative second line drugs like azithromycin. We are even seeing emerging resistance to ceftriaxone, which is the last line of treatment for gonorrhea. Syphilis is also now showing resistance to azithromycin.” said Dr Teodora Wi, WHO Medical Officer on STIs, in an interview with Thailand Medical News.
One in 25 people, globally, is infected with one or more of these diseases and each time antibiotics are used to treat them it increases the chances of drug resistance emerging. They are also a major cause of infertility, chronic disease and birth complications and syphilis alone caused 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016. Even worrisome is new studies showing that STDs can in the long term lead to cancer and other autoimmune complications.
However the STD infection rates are simply increasing exponentially since 2012. Attempts to reduce this will involve measures to tackle stigma about the use of contraception and sexual health testing, but the changing nature of relationships and the influence of new technology may also be a factor. Sex is becoming more accessible with various dating apps . People are also adopting more easy attitudes about casual sex.
There is also the issue of a lack of access to testing services which mean many people may go undiagnosed for years until they show symptoms. WHO has issued a call for researchers to develop a pregnancy-test style system for diagnosing STDs cheaply in countries without national testing programmes.
STDs are also rising in countries like the UK not just the US, Gonorrhoea diagnoses jumped 27 percent in England in 2018 and there were more extensively drug resistant cases in the same year.The British government however has cut budgets for sexual health services repeatedly since 2010, and the WHO said these kinds of decisions should be reversed.
Drug resistant gonorrhoea is indeed a concern with more cases being reported each year.Unless there is adequate investment in high quality sexual health services,this is going to become an increasing problem.