Unfortunately, 2017 is a year when STIs are at an all time high in terms of diagnoses around the world. The World Health Organisation announced in 2017 that over 78 million individuals are infected annually with gonorrhea due to decreasing condom use and poor detection rates or failed treatment. Worryingly, the WHO also indicated that the STI is showing signs of antibiotic resistance as it develops into more of a superbug. They advise that more needs to be done in terms of gonorrhea prevention and of course more research into the development of more advanced antibiotics and in the longer term, they talk of the need to work on gonorrhea vaccine development.

In a more localised examination of STIs, we notice from 2016 research released (which examined 2015 results) by the UK family planning association that chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK. 

STI statistical information on the UK

In the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures released in late 2016 investigated 2015 STI statistics and points to the fact that between 2014 and 2015, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea reached an all time high. Furthermore, the 15-24 year old age bracket recorded higher in terms of chlamydia and gonorrhea diagnosis. This likely points to this particular age bracket being more sexually active and their demographic’s wider acceptance of casual sexual relationships which can result in an individual having more than one sexual partners at a time or over a period of time. It might also indicate too that they are more aware of the importance of regular testing but is likely a combination of both. 

Chlamydia & gonorrhea cases in the USA

Risk Factors for Acquiring an STI

Anyone who is sexually active risks exposure to an STI; factors that may increase the risk are indicated below

STI risk factors

Most Common STIs

There are people who are walking around today without realising that they have an STI because some STIs don’t show obvious symptoms and sometimes symptoms are mild. For example, after sex with a new partner a woman could have a vaginal discharge but think that it’s a harmless yeast infection that will quickly clear up. A man might have had a one night stand and because it doesn’t hurt to pee, he believes all is well. This is a huge concern for medical experts in that early diagnosis is key for preventing long term issues (e.g. fertility problems for some STIs that are left untreated). Medical professionals advise that anyone engaged in sexual activity with more than one partner (and that’s on the basis that those with one partner know their partner has been tested) should get tested regularly but also use condoms with each new partner. 

STI symptoms in men

STI symptoms in women

Top 5 Developed Countries with Highest STI Rate*

Top 5 Developed Countries with Highest STI Rate