While HIV prevention must remain a major public health priority globally, the control of other sexually transmitted infections must not be neglected, state the authors of the fifth paper in the Online/Series published today.
Sexual and reproductive tract infections other than HIV are important global health priorities in their own right, but their impact is often unrecognised. For example, human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause almost all cervical cancers, syphilis can be fatal, and infection in pregnant women causes stillbirth, prematurity, and congenital syphilis and chlamydia and gonorrhoea cause tubal infertility and, potentially fatal, ectopic pregnancy.
Investment in effective measures to control STIs in populations is essential, state Nicola Low (University of Bern, Switzerland) and colleagues. Effective screening programmes for syphilis, for example, could prevent up to 492 000 stillbirths and perinatal deaths every year, population-based programmes to deliver new HPV vaccines could prevent 70% of all cervical cancers, and randomised trials have shown that proactive screening of people using population registers can reduce the prevalence of, and complications due to chlamydia.
Dr Low concludes: "The massive global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has to continue, but not at the expense of controlling other sexually transmitted infections for which financial resources and support have decreased over the past five years."
EARLY ONLINE PUBLICATION: Wednesday November 1, 2006
EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Wednesday November 1, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Tuesday October 31, 2006.
Dr Nicola Low, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. T) +41 117 928 7252 firstname.lastname@example.org
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