STIs, HIV and Hepatitis kill 2.5 million people every year – WHO report

STIs, HIV and Hepatitis kill 2.5 million people every year – WHO report

HIV, viral hepatitis epidemics and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are killing 2.5 million people every year globally, this is according to a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The report —  Implementing the global health sector strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, 2022–2030 — says the three diseases continue to pose significant public health challenges.

New data on the WHO report show that STIs are increasing in many regions.

Picture this…

In 2022, WHO member states set out an ambitious plan to reduce the annual number of adult syphilis infections by ten-folds by 2030 (from 7.1 million to 0.71 million).

However, data from the report says syphilis cases among adults (15-49 years) increased by over 1 million in 2022, reaching 8 million.

Africa and the Americas were the regions with the highest increase in these cases.

“The rising incidence of syphilis raises major concerns,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Fortunately, there has been important progress on a number of other fronts including in accelerating access to critical health commodities including diagnostics and treatment. We have the tools required to end these epidemics as public health threats by 2030, but we now need to ensure that, in the context of an increasingly complex world, countries do all they can to achieve the ambitious targets they set themselves.”

Important data

  1. Four curable STIs – syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis – account for over 1 million infections daily.
  2. The report notes a surge in adult and maternal syphilis (1.1 million) and associated congenital syphilis (523 cases per 100 000 live births per year) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, there were 230 000 syphilis-related deaths.
  3. There is an increase in multi-resistant gonorrhoea.
  4. In 2022, around 1.2 million new hepatitis B cases and nearly 1 million new hepatitis C cases were recorded. The estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis rose from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022 despite effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment tools.
  5. New HIV infections only reduced from 1.5 million in 2020 to 1.3 million in 2022. 
  6. Five key population groups — men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender individuals, and individuals in prisons and other closed settings — still experience significantly higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population.
  7. HIV-related deaths continue to be high. In 2022, there were 630 000 HIV related deaths, 13% of these occurring in children under the age of 15 years.

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