There Are Billions of People Living with Herpes Worldwide, The WHO Reports

There Are Billions of People Living with Herpes Worldwide, The WHO Reports Image

At the beginning of May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published some rather worrying findings. According to the WHO, currently, there are billions of people living some sort of herpes infection. 

The herpes infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus, responsible for causing two different infections. HSV-1 is guilty of causing oral herpes which characterizes itself with cold sores, whereas HSV-2 has been causing genital herpes for years now. 

Back in 2016, it was estimated that approximately 13% of the world’s population, aged 15 to 49, has been living with HSV-2. That is roughly 491 million people affected by genital herpes. The WHO suggests that today, about half a billion people are living with genital herpes, while several billion people have oral herpes. As for oral herpes, back in 2016, the data shows that approximately 3.7 billion people worldwide, have been affected by HSV-1. A noticeable difference in these numbers can be seen. These new findings only highlight the importance of proper prevention and treatment when it comes to such dangerous viral infections. 

HSV-1 and HSV-2 both pose a danger if left untreated. Genital herpes is one of the four most common STDs on a global level. Rectal inflammation, bladder problems, and meningitis are only some of the many complications that can happen due to untreated herpes infection. 

If a woman is pregnant and infected with herpes for which she has now received proper treatment, the chances of transmitting the infection to the baby during the birth are big. Later, the baby can suffer from brain damage, blindness, and even death due to herpes. Having an untreated herpes infection increases the risk of contracting another STD. The risk of HIV is three times higher among those with untreated genital herpes infection. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes yet. Despite knowing all of the potential risks and dangers, we are still left without a vaccine that can help us prevent herpes as well. Having no vaccine or cure that we can rely on, only exposes us to a greater risk of getting affected by herpes and the many dangers that come with it. 

Until a vaccine has been found, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns against the need to increase awareness about genital herpes on a global level. Many countries face the problem of having been denied access to the usual antiviral medications such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir which are usually used to treat HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the other parts of the world. This is yet another problem that deserves our undivided attention to find a proper solution. 

References

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/01-05-2020-billions-worldwide-living-with-herpes

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus

New HIV Testing Guidelines Released By WHO to Help Reduce HIV Prevalence and Improve Treatment Coverage

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates Image

WHO is constantly working to provide better methods of eliminating the risk of the many dangerous STDs, especially in countries where the risk is at its peak, with Africa being one of them. Because of the high HIV rates, among other STDs in Africa, the WHO have decided on new guidelines that are believed to help reduce the HIV prevalence, not only in Africa but worldwide as well.

WHO has released new guidelines for HIV testing

WHO (World Health Organization) has released new guidelines for improved and more accurate HIV testing as well as better treatment coverage for people all around the world, but with a special focus on Africa where the HIV prevalence has especially high. In Africa alone, there have been approximately 23.8 million people living with HIV. About 91% of the children affected with HIV on an international level have been living in Africa.

Luckily, since things have been taken more seriously, from 2010 to 2018, we have seen a major decline in the HIV rates in Africa. From 2010 to 2018, the new HIV infection rate has declined by 28% in eastern and southern Africa. The decline has happened thanks to the expanded HIV treatment that has been made more available to the people living in this country, as well as thanks to the many campaigns that have aimed to increase their awareness. 

In the spirit of World AIDS Day on December 1 and the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA 2019), WHO has released new guidelines that are meant to increase the effectiveness of HIV testing and treatment and accomplish an even greater decline in the HIV rates.

The new guidelines established by WHO now include:

  • Using three consecutive reactive tests to provide an accurate HIV diagnosis as compared to the two consecutive reactive tests that most high burden centuries, such as Africa, have been using so far. This new guideline has been thought to make a huge difference in providing a diagnosis that characterizes itself with maximum accuracy;
  • Extending the accessibility of self-tests, not only for HIV, but also for most STDs such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Hepatitis. With the possibility of doing a self-test at home, there is a higher chance that the high-risk individuals will regularly do check-ups and ask for help in the presence of a positive result;
  • Using social media platforms to increase awareness about HIV and proper testing that can potentially save the lives of high-risk individuals;
  • Providing rapid tests as an alternative to the previously used laboratory tests that cost more money and take longer. Rapid tests, as the term suggests, can deliver accurate results in 2-3 weeks, while costing a lot less, making testing more affordable for the high burden centuries and their residents;
  • Using HIV/Syphilis dual testing that can eliminate the chance for a mother-to-child transmission to happen.

Conclusion

The new guidelines provided by WHO are designed to cause an even further decline in the HIV and STD rates among people worldwide, with a certain focus on Africa as one of the countries where the rates of the common STDs and HIV are especially high. It is believed that the new guidelines will make testing and treating the common STDs easier for the people living in high burden countries and with that, gradually reduce these rates.

References

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa#fnref1

WHO Demands Action Against Rising Rates Of STDs In Africa

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates Image

A rise in sexually transmitted diseases has been noted among the African population. Failure to implement appropriate strategies would further aggravate the issue in Africa at hand. The World Health Organization reports more on the epidemic and has been suggesting further action for the last two decades. Still, challenges are being faced which makes prevention strategies less effective. 

The current State Of STDs In Africa

The World Health Organization reports over 30 million cases where patients were diagnosed with trichomoniasis in 1998. The same year, over 3.5 million people had syphilis and about 15 million were diagnosed with chlamydia. The data presented here only account for the Sub-Saharan African region. 

Due to the rise of STDs in African regions, the World Health Organization has demanded appropriate action to be taken. Unfortunately, there is still a major concern for the prevalence of STDs in the country. The WHO later reported further worries related to the STD rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Syphilis and Gonorrhea are reported to be among the major concerns when looking at the prevalence of STDs in the country. 

Actions To Be Taken Against The Rising Prevalence Of STDs

The continued increase in the prevalence of common STDs requires appropriate action to be taken. There are several prevention strategies that need to be implemented not only in Sub-Saharan Africa but also in other regions of Africa where there is a high prevalence of these sexually transmitted infections. 

Patients are urged to undergo frequent testing if they are sexually active. By recognizing STIs early on, there is a bigger opportunity for reducing the risk of the person spreading it to their sexual partners. Early treatment can also be initiated, which could yield more effective results. 

Even home testing kits are now available, which allows people to know if they have been infected by one of these diseases without the need to visit a doctor’s office. 

The African population needs more education on ways to prevent the spreading of STDs too. The population should be made aware of the benefits that come with using a condom and other safer sex habits. This can help to reduce the risk of new infections. 

Even when a cure is available, people still need to ensure they practice safer sex. Treating gonorrhea with antibiotics is currently a challenge, for example. More-and-more people are presenting with resistance to these antibiotics, making current treatment options less effective. This also greatly increases the risk that the patient will experience serious side-effects and complications. 

Gonorrhea, syphilis, and several other STDs have a high prevalence in African regions. The World Health Organization urges the population to take appropriate action. Practicing safe sex is crucial, along with obtaining frequent testing for common sexually transmitted infections. This would allow the infected individuals to take appropriate action; thus reducing the risk that they would continue spreading the diseases and contributing to the rising prevalence of STIs in Africa. 

References

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

https://www.voanews.com/africa/who-reports-increase-stds-sub-saharan-africa

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates Image

Many sexually transmitted diseases are considered incurable. These conditions are generally simply managed with the appropriate medication. On the other hand, a few infections transferred through sexual intercourse are known to be highly treatable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotics are currently considered the standard treatment option for patients with an STI caused by bacteria. The three sexually transmitted infections noted by the World Health Organization include chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. 

Treatment guidelines for these diseases have recently been updated by the World Health Organization. The WHO encourages all countries to immediately start implementing the new treatment guidelines. Changes were made following the increase in cases linked to antibiotic resistance. 

Updated Treatment Guidelines By WHO For Bacterial STIs

The World Health Organization recently raised concerns regarding three specific sexually transmitted infections that are becoming more difficult to treat. The three infections noted include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. 

All three of these conditions are treated with antibiotics. 

The WHO explains that many of these conditions go undiagnosed. When a person fails to obtain tests and get a diagnosis for these infections early on, they can cause damage to the person’s general well-being. 

In some cases, these conditions can even cause life-threatening complications to occur. 

New strains of gonorrhea have been detected that seem to have multidrug-resistance. This means the standard antibiotics used to treat the condition is no longer working. The bacterial infection continues to cause harm to a patient’s body even after they have been treated with the antibiotics that have been used for gonorrhea during the last few decades. 

This led to the compilation of new treatment guidelines by the WHO. The organization has now urged all countries to take notice of the new treatment guidelines. The implementation of the new treatment methods for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia should assist in reducing the more serious complications that people tend to experience. 

The WHO also encourages patients to take appropriate actions to reduce their risk of being infected with these bacterial diseases. 

Healthcare professionals from the WHO explained that the use of condoms is currently considered an effective preventative strategy for the general population to follow. Patients are advised to use condoms when they participate in sexual activities with a partner. Frequent testing for these three bacterial infections is also crucial to ensure treatment is implemented at an early stage of the disease. 

Antibiotic Resistance Became Very Serious

Treatment for bacterial infections that transmit through sexual intercourse generally includes the use of antibiotics. Following episodes of increased antibiotic resistance cases throughout the world, the WHO has recently updated its guidelines for the treatment of three particular bacterial STIs. The implementation of these guidelines is critical in the prevention of a further escalation regarding antibiotic resistance.  

References

https://www.who.int/en/news-room/detail/30-08-2016-growing-antibiotic-resistance-forces-updates-to-recommended-treatment-for-sexually-transmitted-infections