Since 2000, Spain has seen a more or less continuous increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An increase that becomes “alarming” in the summer in tourist destinations such as the Balearic Islands, according to archipelago experts.
Balearic Islands together with Catalonia and Madridone of the territories where the highest number of cases of this type of infection is detected, according to the latest data published by the Ministry of Health, which correspond to 2021.
The situation that gets worse in summer in places like Ibiza to a large influx of tourists. “Specialists note that the incidence is increasing due to an increase in the practice of unprotected sex,” say the Vila Parc clinic, which often treats patients with these diseases.
The most affected, according to recent data, are adolescents and adults aged 40 to 50.
Although there is no exact data on the increase in the incidence in summer compared to other seasons, the dermatology department of the Vila Parc clinic explains the PURPOSE that “Counseling experience shows there is a rebound in the summer”. “This is probably due to more social activity at this time of year and more free time, which is associated with meeting new people and sex, which should always be protected to avoid these infections,” they add.
Gonorrhea and syphilis, among the most common
Human papillomavirus, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis often cause the most common sexually transmitted diseases although doctors continue to detect some cases of HIV.
cases of gonorrhea multiplied by six in a decade to reach 15,338, while syphilis According to the Ministry of Health, their number has doubled and exceeded 6,600 people. Relatively chlamydiathe incidence also increased markedly and reached 20,507 diagnoses in 2021.
Concerning HIVin Spain, 2,786 new diagnoses were registered in 2021, lower than the rest, but still far from the goal of eradicating the disease.
many of them show through symptoms such as sores in the genital or oral region, warts or lesions, urinary discomfort, and abnormal discharge, among others. Symptoms that can eventually lead to other more serious complications, such as damage to the cardiovascular system or central nervous system, as well as reduced fertility, especially in women. At other times, infections are asymptomatic, which does not mean that they do not spread or are less dangerous.
“These are diseases that They are seen daily in consultation and, moreover, more and more often,” says Dr. Eduardo Varas, head of the dermatology service at Clínica Vila Parc in Ibiza. For this reason, they warn of the need to raise public awareness “before the arrival of summer and the influx of visitors, both factors influencing the increase in the incidence.”
In addition, they insist on the importance of visiting a specialist in order to avoid complications and infection of other people. Because some of these infections do not cause symptoms in some people, the clinic recommends have periodic reviews to sexually active people. “Asymptomatic pictures are numerous and pose a risk to public health due to the risk of further spread of the infection,” Varas says.
Steady growth from loss of fear
“STIs are growing very fast, in consultation we see cases daily and more and more often“, — say the specialists of the clinic. The latest data refers to 2021, but from this center in Ibiza they confirm that the trend continues to grow: “Dermatologists, family doctors, internists, gynecologists or urologists are the specialists who most often encounter these cases and We all agree that this upward trend continues to grow.“.
They believe this is because “more and more risky behavior is emerging because the importance of these diseases is minimized as soon as HIV, for example, becomes more controlled. Added to this is the fact that in many cases, carriers have no symptoms and are unaware that they can become infected. For this reason, they say at the clinic, “we insist that the barrier method is always used when people are active and/or change partners frequently.” “STDs can have very negative health consequences, and it is inappropriate to underestimate their importance and possible complications,” they add.