Experts warn of increasing numbers of sexually transmitted diseases
The number of STD infections is increasing across Europe. However, experts warn of restrictions on prostitutes. This could exacerbate the problem because the victims would be pushed underground. Health experts are currently discussing solutions at a conference of the German Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (DSTIG) in Cologne.
Restrictions for prostitutes and punishments against clients would only make the problem worse "It is always sexual activity and the lack of protective measures, for example the condom, that increases the risk of infection," said the President of the German Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (DSTIG), Norbert H. Brockmeyer, on the occasion of a conference at the news agency “dpa.” The scientist warns against enforcing restrictions for sex workers and criminal prosecution for clients. “Anything that works against liberalization in the area of prostitution will worsen the situation significantly the people underground. "
Brockmeyer, an expert in venereal diseases at the University Dermatological Clinic in Bochum, is in favor of a non-judgmental and non-discriminatory approach to sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases. "If we want to learn from our approach to HIV infection, we can see that all countries that have tried to contain HIV epidemiology through coercive measures have experienced dramatic increases in infections." The DSTIG President also estimates the consequences for Germany if sex workers were punished or exposed to even greater stigma.
Number of new infections with syphilis, chlamydia and other venereal diseases continues to rise Europe-wide, the number of new infections with sexually transmitted diseases is increasing. The DSTIG assumes around 80,000 infections with human papilloma viruses per year. The viruses can cause cervical cancer. Girls between the ages of 12 and 17 can get vaccinated against it. According to the DSTIG, around 100,000 bacterial infections with chlamydia occur in Germany each year. The bacteria can cause infertility in both men and women.
As the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) informs, there has also been an increase in syphilis cases. Nationwide, 19 percent more infections - a total of 4,410 diseases - were registered in 2012 than in the previous year. In four out of five cases, the transmission of sexual contacts between men is said to have taken place. According to the RKI, the number of infections in prostitutes has remained constant. "Here, too, we have to look at the risk behavior and not have a fake debate about prostitution," Brockmeyer explained. Infections would also be observed in swinger clubs.
An increase in infections would be recorded, especially in young adults who were in their sexual discovery phase. "We have to do a lot more educational work here in Germany," Brockmeyer demands.
DSTIG is now talking about a comeback of sexually transmitted diseases. After a decline after the HIV epidemic, the experts today warn of a further increase in venereal diseases. HIV infections remain constant with an average of 3,000 new patients per year. For about ten years now, however, other diseases that have been transmitted through sexual contact have been increasing.
Improve sexually transmitted disease education
The president of the German Dermatological Society (DDG), Rudolf Stadler, calls for better education about venereal diseases. According to Stadler, an important factor in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases is knowledge of the contagion and consequences. There are significant deficits here. It is not unusual for venereal diseases to be brought along from vacation, for example.
A continuous information policy is needed in Germany, the DDG president told the news agency in the spring. The educational work affects not only schools, but also medical practices. Sexual health should also be addressed in doctor-patient discussions. That applies to dermatologists as well as gynecologists, urologists and general practitioners, according to Stadler. (sb)