Human T- cell Leukemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type -2 (HTLV-2) in Africa

HTLV (Type 1 and 2) in Africa Image

Human T- cell Leukemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type -2 (HTLV-2) are closely related, but distinct retroviruses endemic in Africa.  They are highly transmissible and casually linked to different severe diseases.

An epidemiological study carried out in Gabon revealed that the prevalence of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 is 7.3% and 0.1%, respectively.  The prevalence of these retroviruses has escalated over the years from North to South African, varying from 0.6% in Morocco, to 5% in several sub-Saharan countries like Cameroon, Benin, DRC Congo, and Guinea Bissau.  HTLV-2 is mostly observed in people in Western Africa.

What is (HTLV-1) and (HTLV-2)?

HTLV is a retrovirus that infects the white blood cells called T-lymphocyte/T-cell. These cells play an important role in the body’s immunity. HTLV (also known as the Human T-cell lymphotropic virus )  falls in the same family as HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus), the only difference is that it doesn’t cause AIDS (Immune Deficiency Syndrome), but they’re transmitted in the same way. 

Transmission

HTLV type-1 and type- 2 require cell-to-cell contact for efficient transmission. Transmission occurs through:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy
  • Sharing of needles and syringes
  • Transfusion of cellular blood components
  • Breastfeeding

Signs and Symptoms of (HTLV-1) and (HTLV-2)

HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 generally cause no signs and symptoms, although people infected with HTLV-1 might develop HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/ tropical spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP), adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), and other diseases. 

About 2% of People infected with HTLV-1 will develop HAM/TSP.  This is a chronic and progressive nervous system disease. Its signs and symptoms include:

  • Unexplained fall
  • Constipation
  • Urinary inconsistency
  • Numbness and pain in the lower limb
  • Low back pains 

In the later years, patients will experience progressive leg weakness, followed by the exasperation of the urinary and sensory symptoms.  While patients might still walk after one or two decades, others might be confident in wheelchairs for months after the onset of the disease. 

Those who will develop ATL – a type of cancer caused by the abnormal multiplication of white blood cell might experience symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Skin rash
  • Fever and sweats
  • Frequent infections

HTLV-1 might also cause arthritis, uveitis, myositis, alveoli is and dermatitis. HTLV-2 isn’t linked to any specific disease, but researcher speculates that it might later result in neurological conditions like:

  • Gait Abnormalities
  • Sensory neuropathies
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Motor abnormalities

 Diagnosis

Human T-cell leukemia virus, type 1 and type 2 are often diagnosed based on blood tests to identify antibodies to the virus.  

However, most people in Africa suffering from both HTLV-1 and 2 are rarely diagnosed because they never develop any signs or symptoms related to the infection. 

They only to discover they have the virus after undergoing screening for blood donation or blood testing for adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) or HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/ tropical spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP).

Treatment                                                     

There are no specific drugs or vaccine to date for HTLV-1 and HTLV-2.  They can only be managed if detected early and prevented from spreading to uninfected persons. People with T-cell lymphoma/leukemia can access various treatments, options like chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, and antiviral drugs.

Promoting safe sex, discouraging the sharing of needles, and screening can lower the number of infections. Mother to child transmission can be managed and reduced by the screening of a pregnant mother, so they can avoid breastfeeding their babies.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00021234.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901658/

https://jvi.asm.org/content/72/9/7664

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13550289709015802

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2879950/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164244/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4678997/

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkin-lymphoma/treating/high-dose-chemo-and-stem-cell.html

http://htlvaware.com/uploads/2/1/5/5/21557664/htlv_inflam_2014.pdf

Marburg Virus in Africa

Marburg Virus in Africa Image

Marburg virus is believed to have originated from Africa.  The virus has claimed over 100 lives in central Africa. The most recent recorded outbreak was in Uganda in 2017. Other’s sporadic cases and outbreaks have been reported in Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe. 

Recently, researchers discovered an Angola-like strain in Fruit bats in Sierra Leone. This marks the first appearance of the deadly Ebola-like virus in West Africa.

What is the Marburg Virus?

Marburg Virus is a rare but deadly virus that causes hemorrhagic fever.  The virus infects the cell lining of the blood vessels and a subsection of the body’s immune cells, resulting in capillaries leaking blood. 

The virus falls in the same Family as Ebola and is the causative agent of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever (MHF).  MHF is a disease with a fatality rate of about 80% and was first discovered in 1967, after a simultaneous outbreak in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and Belgrade in Serbia.

Transmission

Marburg is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and humans. The Egyptian Rosette fruit bats (Rousettus aesgyptiacus) have been identified as a reservoir host of the virus.  

Once a bat is affected by the virus, it enters its saliva, urine, and feces-  which may be deposited on the surfaces of the fruit when the bat takes tiny bites. The virus is then transmitted to animals and humans who eat these fruits.  

The virus also spreads via close contact with infected persons, their blood, or other body fluid like saliva and semen. 

Sign and Symptoms 

The initial signs of the infection are the onset of sudden fever, aches, myalgia, and chills. As the infection spreads throughout the body, the patient will start experiencing nausea, sore throat, abdominal pains, vomiting, and acute diarrhea. 

The signs and symptoms of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever make it difficult to distinguish it from other infectious diseases such as Malaria, typhoid fever, and other viral diseases. 

Even though it causes severe bleeding, most patients die from circulatory system failure, which triggers shock and multiple organ failure.

Treatment

There are no drugs or vaccines that can fight off Marburg Virus. Usually, treatment is limited to supportive hospital therapy like balancing electrolytes, replacing lost blood, treatment of infections, and maintaining blood pressure and oxygen status. However, there are experimental treatments that are validated primates but are yet to be tried in humans. 

Prevention

Prevention measures against Marburg are not yet well defined, because transmission between wildlife and humans is still an area of ongoing research. Nevertheless, people should avoid contact with fruit bats and primates in West and Central Africa.  In the case of an outbreak, presentation measures of human-to-human and secondary transmission are the same as those used for Ebola and other hemorrhagic diseases.

Why is the Marburg Virus more prevalent in Africa?

Encroachment of humans into the habitats dominated by bats and monkey exposes them to a new set of viral disease these animals harbor that. 

Furthermore, the poor economies of African countries have left many people improvised, and the only way they fend for themselves and makes some little income is by hunting and bushmeat (killing monkey and fruit bats). 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/marburg/symptoms/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p1220-marburg-found-in-bats.html

https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/marburg-haemorrhagic-fever

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30883555/

https://www.who.int/csr/don/25-october-2017-marburg-uganda/en/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4447827/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321919/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X04001604

https://www.iamat.org/risks/marburg-hemorrhagic-fever

Africa and the Middle East Chlamydia Rates Based on Current Epidemiological Data

Chlamydia Information

Chlamydia rates continue to rise. It seems the Middle East is slightly catching up to the sub-Saharan African region. 

Based on reports from Nature Middle East, 3% of the Middle East population is infected with chlamydia, one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial infections. Compared to the 3.15% infected female population in sub-Saharan Africa, the rates are getting close.  

This STI is widely known for causing major complications in infected individuals, particularly problems during pregnancy and, in severe cases, infertility. This is a widely underestimated infection that continues to spread. 

Chlamydia Cases in Africa and the Middle East

According to the WHO, 50 million women get infected with chlamydia on a global scale, 34 million of them live in Southeast Asia and the sub-Saharan African region. That’s almost 3.15% of the entire female population in the area.

In an effort to compare the chlamydia rates with other countries, scientists have analyzed data from 250,000 people that live in 20 different countries all across the Middle East and the northern part of Africa. 

According to Alex Smolak, an expert epidemiologist, the rates for type 2 herpes and HIV were found to be much lower than in other regions. So, they assumed the same thing would apply to Chlamydia trachomatis. 

However, the research proved otherwise. The scientists found that chlamydia rates in the Middle East are just as high as other regions all around the world. While they may not be as high as Southeast and south Asia with 43 million registered cases, it’s not something to be taken lightly. 

Current Epidemiological Data

There have been very few studies that analyzed the epidemiological data for chlamydia and STDs in North Africa and the Middle East. The main reason being socio-cultural limitations and political issues published the Lancet Global Health.

But, if these regions were to ignore the condition and people don’t receive adequate treatment, it can compromise their reproductive health on a much larger scale. The most vulnerable groups at risk of contracting the infection are sex workers, women who’ve had a miscarriage, and attendees at an infertility clinic.

From the records we do have, statistics show a high chlamydia prevalence rate in Africa and the Middle East, but they are not the only areas where chlamydia is known to spread. 

Based on statistics from 2016, the global prevalence rate of this STI is at 3.8%, and it’s mostly found in women between the ages of 15 to 49 and older. In 2011, the recorded cases in the UK peaked at 236,595 and were found to be mostly present in the younger population between 20 to 24 years of age. 

The goal of this research is to raise awareness in Africa and the Middle East, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. Addressing the problem is the primary step to solving it.

References

https://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2019.117

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-018-3477-y

https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/97/8/18-228486/en/

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Estimated-number-of-new-cases-of-Chlamydia-trachomatis-infections-among-adults-in_fig2_5543751

https://www.treated.com/sti/chlamydia/chlamydia-trends-and-statistics

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30322-5/fulltext

The Benefits of Using Portable STD Kits and Telemedicine Services in The Time of Coronavirus

The Benefits of Using Portable STD Kits and Telemedicine Services in The Time of Coronavirus Image

For a lot of people, especially the African population, STDs and reproductive health are somewhat of a tabu – topics that are to be discussed in secrecy or to be not discussed at all. The feelings of fear and shame that have been often linked to the topics of STDs and reproductive health are partially the reason why there is an ever-growing number of new STD cases in Africa whereas we see a promising decline while talking about the rest of the world.

Relying on portable STD kits and telemedicine services in the time of coronavirus

Luckily, the researchers and doctors have been working on finding a solution that would help make diagnosis easier and the affected individuals would get properly treated later. The solution lays in the portable STD kits which can be purchased easily online. A perfect example is the portable STD kits offered by GhanaMedicals. GhanaMedicals are offering their portable STD kits for a discounted price to help the fight against STDs in the time of the new coronavirus.

They are offering portable STD kits for Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, genital herpes, and much more. More and more people rely on portable STD kits to let them know if they have been affected by any dangerous STD or not since they get to order their kit anonymously online and do the test at home. Then the sample is to be sent to the laboratory, again in complete anonymity, and the results would be sent in a few days. All of the needed instruction and materials are provided with the portable STD kit. 

But it seems that now, the portable STD kits have gotten a new meaning. Since the new coronavirus outbreak, we are living in fear, as we are encouraged to stay at home and avoid going to the hospital except for emergencies. Having a portable STD kit would certainly make things easier in detecting the presence of STD and asking the doctor for help by using telemedicine services later.

Telemedicine services involve the use of technology and electronic communication to provide proper medical services without the patient visiting their doctor at the office. Using telemedicine services, the doctor can provide advice and even a proper prescription for any medications that are required to be used given the situation. 

Combining portable STD kits and telemedicine services is a great option for keeping the visits at the doctor’s office to a minimum and with that – the rates of coronavirus as low as possible. With this, you will still be able to get a proper diagnosis and treatment and prevent any serious complications that are expected to happen due to untreated STD. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6808548/
https://chironhealth.com/telemedicine/what-is-telemedicine/

What Groups Of People Are Exposed To The Highest Risk Of STDs?

What Groups Of People Are Exposed To The Highest Risk Of STDs? Image

The term STDs stands for sexually transmitted diseases with the term being self-explanatory referring to diseases that are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. There are many STDs and even more complications than they could potentially lead to if left untreated, however, the following STDs are marked as the most common ones – HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes. 

The number of new STD cases is increasing, despite the hardest efforts of doctors and researchers to raise awareness among the people. However, it is countries like Africa that are marked as high-burden countries in the fight against STDs. For example, 9.1 African adults have been affected by chlamydia back in 2008, whereas genital herpes has affected around 118 million adults (HSV-1) and 19.2 million adults (HSV-2), and with that Africa has been marked as the country with the highest prevalence of genital herpes.

The risk groups that are more likely to get infected with an STD

Over the years we have been able to understand that there are simply some groups of people that have an increased risk of getting infected with an STD as compared to the general population. In the following we will share the potentially high-risk groups of people:

  • Women – African women are more likely to get infected with an STD as compared to be, as research has shown back in 1992;
  • Children – Unfortunately, in Africa, both adults and children are affected, with children and adult women being the most common victims of the different STDs. 91% of the HIV-infected children worldwide are living in Africa;
  • People who have more than one sexual partner – Being in a monogamous relationship is considered to be an effective prevention method for STDs;
  • People who engage in unprotective sex – Practicing unsafe sex is the number one risk factor for STDs;
  • People who live in rural areas – Rural areas have been marked as high-burden, with most of the STD-infected people living there;
  • People who engage in the fish-for-sex phenomenon – In the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, mostly women, but also men, engage in sexual intercourse, most commonly unprotected sex, in exchange for fish that they later use as food or sell for money. This phenomenon has led to a continuous increase in new STD cases;
  • Married people – A study has shown that married people in Swaziland have a higher risk of getting infected with an STD as compared to single people. Researchers suggest that engaging in unprotected sex with a regular partner, or the spouse, in this case, may explain this risk factor.
  • People with a history of STD – A 2009 study has demonstrated how having a medical history that includes one or multiple STDs increases the risk of the infection reoccurring. The focus of the study were women with a past HIV infection who had an increased risk of chlamydial infection.

References

http://www.ijstr.org/final-print/jan2014/Chlamydia-Trachomatis-Prevalence-In-Ghana-A-Study-At-A-Municipal-District-In-Western-Ghana.pdfhttp:/www.ijstr.org/final-print/jan2014/Chlamydia-Trachomatis-Prevalence-In-Ghana-A-Study-At-A-Municipal-District-In-Western-Ghana.pdf

https://www.redelve.com/backend/images/article/1553841134.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1633656

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa#fnref2

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/idog/2010/609315/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28108929

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445272/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19265734

Why Is Important To Get Tested For STDs During Pregnancy?

Why Is Important To Get Tested For STDs During Pregnancy? Image

When it comes to the common STDs and the harmful complications that they could lead to, it seems that no one is spared. Adults, children, and even pregnant women and their babies in the womb can be affected by these dangerous diseases. This means only one thing – proper testing and treatment are crucial during pregnancy, especially for the STDs that can be easily passed to the little one in the womb. 

The importance of getting tested for STDs during pregnancy

An existing STD during the pregnancy period can cause serious complications for both the mother and the baby since many STDs can be easily passed to the fetus. That is why it is very important to get properly tested and treated in case of an existing STD. 

Luckily, the doctors have thought about everything and they have made STD testings a regular part of the prenatal visits for all pregnant women. Screenings for HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia, and syphilis are done at the first prenatal visit. Gonorrhea and hepatitis C screenings are also recommended to be done throughout the pregnancy.

However, an STD can also develop after these screenings take place. That is why it is very important to consult your doctor if you suspect that you might have been infected with an STD. But many women feel ashamed and afraid to consult their doctors, which is the case in most African countries. 

That is also the cause why so many pregnant women have been affected by STDs in Africa as well. A 2018 study has shown a high prevalence of the common STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, among pregnant women with the prevalence being 15%.

And this brings us to a very important topic – the use of portable STD test kits. The portable test kits can be ordered online, offered by Ghana Medicals. Delivered in complete anonymity, they contain everything that you need to take a sample and send it off to a laboratory that will deliver your results in only a few days. Then, you can discuss your results with your doctor in case they are positive.

Potential complications of leaving an STD untreated

We will now discuss the possible complications caused by the most common STDs with the hopes of raising awareness among all pregnant women. We hope that it is the fear of these complications instead of the fear of testing and treated an STD that you will feel and make you want to get protected and treated as soon as possible.

Syphilis and HIV can infect the baby while it is still inside the womb. On the other hand, chlamydia and genital herpes can be passed on the baby as it is being delivered through the infected birth canal. Here are the biggest concerns and risks to unborn babies due to untreated STDs.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5857256/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6808548/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5967814/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6293753

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2039031

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/480010

Children as Victims of STDs in Africa

Children as Victims of STDs in Africa Image

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have caused us troubles for centuries now. From the time when they were first identified as a threat until now, we have seen STDs affecting millions of people around the world, causing some troubling symptoms and even more troubling and potentially life-threatening complications. 

But it seems that some groups of people living in certain parts of the world have it worse than others. A good example, as researchers suggest, are children living in Africa. It should not come as a surprise since we are very well aware of the majority of the STD-infected population living in Africa with that being most commonly women and children, including newborns that have been infected with a dangerous STD either during pregnancy or during birth due to the lack of proper testing and treatment did.

STD-infected children living in Africa

If you are wondering how many STD-infected children there are currently living in Africa, know that the majority of HIV-infected children, with that being 91%, are African children. In Africa, AIDS, caused by HIV, remains the leading cause of death in adolescents. AIDS is also the reason why there are so many orphaned children, such as Zimbabwe where approximately 74% and South Africa where 63% of the orphaned children have lost both of their parents due to HIV/AIDS.

Other commonly diagnosed STDs among children are herpes and chlamydia which, unlike HIV and syphilis can be passed during pregnancy, are transmitted during birth. Many children also lose their lives at birth because of these dangerous STDs. Stillbirth and miscarriage are two complications that we often see happening during pregnancy and birth because of untreated STDs.

Researchers working on a study published back in 2014 tried to identify the causes of the high STD prevalence in children and women living in Africa. The study listed the following reasons as to why there are so many STD-infected children, especially female children, that is, living in Africa.

  • Poverty;
  • Neglect;
  • Inequality.

Living in rural areas of Africa is one of the common risk factors. Practicing in unsafe sex is the main risk factor and method of transmission for STDs in both adults and children. Engaging in sex, unprotected sex, that is, from an early age also increases the risk for children to get infected with one, or often multiple STDs at a time. 

Children being forced to engage in sexual intercourse is not uncommon for these parts of the world as well, thus explaining the high number of STD cases. For children and adolescents, it is harder to identify the present symptoms and ask for help in time, which would also explain the continuous rise of new STD cases in Africa. 

The fact is that we have to do whatever we can to raise awareness and protect those who are unable to protect themselves. Regular screenings and proper treatment is the key for protecting the youngest that are not spared from the vicious symptoms and complications caused by STDs.

References

https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/UNICEF_Annual_Report_2015_En.pdf

https://www.who.int/woman_child_accountability/ierg/news/ierg_statement_AIDS_1_december_2014/en/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jstd/2014/671085/

How Fear Inhibits HIV Testing and Treatment in African Men

How Fear Inhibits HIV Testing and Treatment in African Men Image

HIV is a potentially life-threatening virus that damages the immune system, causing a disease known as AIDS to develop. It is through unprotected sexual intercourse – including oral, vaginal, and anal that this dangerous virus is being transmitted from one person to another. 

Although HIV is spread all around the world, affecting roughly 34 million people, it seems that Africa is one of the countries with the highest incidence where around 69% of the infected people live. And unfortunately, children are not spared of this horrible disease as well. 91% of infected children with HIV/AIDS are thought to live in Africa

Fear prevents African men from getting tested and treated for HIV

Although for the longest time now, the lack of knowledge has been linked as a contributing factor to the continuous spread of HIV in Africa, it seems that there is an even bigger factor to be considered. We are talking about fear. But when we mention fear, we do not mean fear of the disease itself, but fear of how these people would be treated by other people in their society once they are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

A new study published in 2019 in PLoS One has demonstrated the influence of fear upon the decision-making process to get tested and properly treated. The focus of the study has been men and how the feeling of fear influences them in a scenario where they would have to get tested for HIV and then treated if needed. Multiple interviews and surveys with 227 African men have been conducted to gather enough data on the topic.

The men were later divided into three groups – men who were unaware of their HIV status, men who were aware of being HIV positive but not getting any treatment, and men who were aware of their status of being HIV positive and getting properly treated. It was discovered that many men tend to hide their positive HIV status and with that trying to preserve the image that they have created for themselves and are showing to the people in their surrounding environment.

It seems that the men living in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, are afraid to get tested for HIV, contributing to the continuous spread of this disease. The source of their fear is the fact that HIV/AIDS is still considered to be a stigma in Africa and often being linked to feelings of shame and fear, thus resulting in a lack of much-needed action. It seems that the African men fear that their HIV positive status will interfere and lower their masculinity and, therefore, their ability to form and support their families, work, and actively engage in their society. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924471/

http://files.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/epidemiology/2012/gr2012/20121120_FactSheet_Global_en.pdf

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6808548/

How STIs Prevention Strategies Can Be Implemented In Low-Income African Countries

How STIs Prevention Strategies Can Be Implemented In Low-Income African Countries

The healthcare system in Africa faces a significant problem with sexually transmitted infections. At the moment, many studies focus on the situation in Sub Saharan African regions. Studies also suggest the implementation of more effective strategies to assist in reducing the prevalence of STIs in these low-income regions. 

The Current State Of STIs In Africa

There are several sexually transmitted infections currently considered bothersome subjects by the African healthcare systems. HIV and Aids, along with Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis are all currently at high rates. 

One study explains that the complications of these sexually transmitted diseases are adversely affecting the healthcare system, as well as the population. Some complications noted by the study include pelvic inflammatory disease, respiratory tract morbidity, and conjunctivitis. Several concerns regarding pregnancy and STIs are also noted in the study. This includes ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth. The population is also at risk of infertility due to complications presented by many of these sexually transmitted diseases. 

In up to 49% of cases where ulcers are reported, Chancroid is linked to the occurrence of such symptoms. Chlamydia is also linked to lymphogranuloma venereum in the country, affecting up to 6.1% o the population. 

Implementing Prevention Strategies

There are highly effective prevention strategies that can be used to effectively reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections in Africa. Education plays a key part in allowing success in preventing a further increase in transmission rates of common sexually transmitted infections among the African population. 

Individuals need to be educated from an early age. This would ensure children are equipped with skills to reduce their risk of sexual behavior that would increase their likeliness to become infected with STIs. 

A focus should be placed on safe sex. This would include the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Condoms can help to reduce the risk of being infected with an STI. Safe sex does not only contribute to a reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases but also helps reduce the rate of early pregnancies in teenagers. 

Data related to symptoms of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and other STIs should also be provided to the population. This would ensure individuals are able to recognize the symptoms and get tested. When diagnosed early, the person has a better chance of treatment providing effective results. An early diagnosis also ensures the individual understand that they should not participate in risky sexual behaviour – as this would cause them to transmit the disease to their sexual partners. 

Prevention strategies should include making STD testing options more available to the population, ensuring individuals can be tested for common STIs frequently. 

There is a high prevalence of certain STIs in Africa. Several low-income areas of Africa are facing a difficult time implementing appropriate strategies to reduce the current rate of STIs in the region. There are several strategies that may provide a reduced incidence of infections and diseases that are transmitted through sexual intercourse. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2202406

STD Numbers Are Still High: Is Online Dating to Blame?

STD Numbers Are Still High: Is Online Dating to Blame Image

STD numbers have been steadily increasing over the years. The Sub-Saharan African region was ranked as the highest infected area in the world with 15 million cases of chlamydia, 3.5 million syphilis, 30 million trichomonas, and 16 million gonorrheas. And has remained the number one most infected region for years. 

Recently, however, the CDC stated online dating apps could be the reason for the constant increase in STDs around the globe, not just the African population. In fact, statistics have shown that since online dating became popular, gonorrhea rates have doubled and syphilis has increased by five times. For the last decade, even chlamydia went up by 56%. 

These records do seem worrying; but what does online dating have to do with the constant increase in STD rates? Here, we will do a detailed analysis of the effects of online dating, and why does it matter for the African population. But, most importantly, we will talk whether it is to blame for the rising STD rates. 

How Does Online Dating Result in STDs?

Based on statistical analysis, 79% of online daters agree that dating apps are a good way of meeting new people. Most of them find it beneficial that they don’t need to know a lot about their potential partner aside from getting intimate. While 33% of users agree this makes it difficult for them to settle down. But, it’s a more convenient method, than having to look for a partner any other way. 

While there isn’t enough research to effectively link online dating to STDs, it can be a potential concern for many. There are a couple of problems many people have pointed out with online dating, these include:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Lack of communication
  • Failure to promote healthy intercourse

People are getting intimate with someone they barely know. Since online dating makes changing partners a lot easier and more convenient, it has become easier to spread STDs than before. Most people have no idea their partner may carry infection, so they unknowingly get to spread it to a future partner. Therefore, increasing the rates for contracting STDs in Africa and worldwide. 

According to a Dutch study, many individuals seek unprotected sex through online dating, particularly for same-sex intercourse. Many of the participants evaluated in the study were unaware that anal intercourse could also spread STDs. While the reasons differ for every individual, many people did result in having unprotected sex and contracting STDs. 

Why STD Numbers Matter for Africa?

Statistics show, 51.7% of the population in South Africa between the ages of 25 to 34, use online dating apps to find a potential partner. While 13.8% are 18 to 24 years old. Even though hardly as many people in Africa use dating apps as in the U.S., it’s obvious that plenty of people are willing to skip the old-school dating method and go for easier alternatives. 

For Africa, this is a serious issue. Most STDs are a taboo, and getting intimate with a stranger could become a potential problem for STDs. In poorer regions, like this continent, talking about sexually transmitted infections has a higher chance to make dating a lot more difficult. People would rather not publicly disclose their sexual health situation or may not even know they are infected. Both of these problems are present in Africa, and much more likely to happen. 

Also, there is another issue. Recently, fewer people have been using contraceptives to stop spreading STDs, officials announced. Many of which fail to use condoms during intercourse with a spouse. 

Unprotected sex, whether it is oral, anal, or vaginal, can equally spread STDs. Individuals who don’t use these methods of protection, but regularly change partners, are more likely to get infected. 

What Should You Do?

If you prefer online dating, it’s important that you establish boundaries. Have a proper conversation with the potential partner and insist that you use contraceptives. To prevent the onset of any STD, it’s crucial to use condoms, including for same-sex intercourse. Otherwise, you risk exposing yourself to serious infections that could drastically impact your overall health, like HIV for example. 

Even though it’s hard to figure out if online dating is to blame for increased STD rates, it’s safe to say that people should take the right precautions. Not just for themselves, but for their future partners as well. 

References

https://www.statista.com/outlook/372/112/online-dating/south-africa#market-arpu

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12348788

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7576299/Hawaii-health-officials-blame-states-spike-STIs-online-dating.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/10/14/std-online-dating-higher-disease-numbers-linked/3973450002/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/6/3/78/htm

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-016-1637-5

https://www.verywellhealth.com/are-internet-dating-sites-endangering-public-health-4118176