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Reboot Safe Sex Campaign Needed

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 22 June 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Soa Aids Nederland thinks it is urgent and necessary to see a return of the nationwide safe sex campaign. The latest figures on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the Netherlands, published by RIVM, make it clear that such a campaign is sorely missed in the fight against STDs. The proven effective campaign was ended by the Ministry of Health in 2011.

At the STD clinics, only 27% of heterosexual men and women reported having used a condom during their most recent sexual contact with a casual partner. Among gay men, the use of condoms in that category is higher, namely 43%.

Finding more STDs means less HIV

In 2017 more consultations were carried out at the clinics, with more STDs found. Louise van Deth, director of Soa Aids Nederland: "This means that we must continue to invest in information and education. Early diagnoses and treatment of STDs are essential in stopping the transmission of those STDs. In fact, in order to drastically reduce the number of STDs in the long term, we must first find and treat more infections at an early stage. We are not there yet, but the STD clinics are working hard to achieve just that.”

Gay Men Stabilizing

The latest STD figures show that most STDs are diagnosed in gay men, but they are also tested more often. More and more men who have sex with changing male partners follow the general advice to get tested at least twice a year. Among these men there is no increase in the number of STDs found by the STD clinics compared to the previous years (between 19 and 21% of the number of diagnoses).

The number of STDs found did see a significant increase among heterosexuals, from 13.9% in 2013 to 19.6% in 2017. This was also the case for women up to 2016: from 13.2% in 2013 to 16.2% in 2016. This has to do with the stricter selection policy at the Sexual Health clinics. Last year, the number of STDs found among women remained roughly the same: 16.3% in 2017.

Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV

Gonorrhoea is the strongest climber among the STDs found by the Sexual Health clinics. Last year, the number of gonorrhoea diagnoses has increased by 11%. Gay men mostly contributed to this increase, but the rising trend in this group will not continue in 2017. Contrary to other countries, no resistance or clinical failure has been reported in the Netherlands for 'ceftriaxone,’ the medicine of choice in treating gonorrhoea.

Chlamydia saw a slight increase with 3% more diagnoses, with the rising trend there found in heterosexual men. The number of diagnoses of LGV (an aggressive form of chlamydia) increased by 12%, mainly found in gay men.

The good news is that the number of syphilis diagnoses did not see an increase. The trend of increasing syphilis diagnoses seen over the past years is not continuing. In 2017, the STD clinics diagnosed 286 new HIV infections, almost the same number as in 2016. The number represents one third of the total number of HIV diagnoses in the Netherlands.



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