Doctors ask for more screening in asymptomatic patients to reduce sexually transmitted infections – El Periódico

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been on the rise for a long time. In the last five years, they have grown by 84% in Spain, led by HIV, chlamydia and gonococcal infections, according to the consulting firm Cegedim Health Data Spain. In the first place, because the population lives its sexuality more freely and with less fear than in the past. And, secondly, because now they are detected more than before. Even so, experts call for “strengthening prevention.” “And this does not happen only by using condoms, but tests must be done, screening in asymptomatic people. This is a very powerful first line of work,” says Jordi Baroja, director of the NGO Center Jove d’Atenció a les Sexualitats ( CJAS), in Barcelona. Dr. Jorge García, a specialist in HIV and STIs at the Drassanes unit, dependent on the Vall d’Hebron Hospital (Barcelona) and a reference in Catalonia, also insists on this idea. “A great tool to prevent is STI screening. If the population were tested more frequently, we would prevent transmission and eliminate asymptomatic infections. For that we need the population to want to take these tests and, also, that public health respond “, points out García, aware as he is that the means are scarce. In the last five years, STIs have grown by 84% in Spain, according to the consulting firm Cegedim Health Data. That is why a large part of STI screenings focus on men who have sex with men. “When society has limited resources, the most vulnerable groups are sought out. Screening a certain population has more effect than another. But, obviously, [estos cribados] they should be more accessible to all citizens. For that there have to be more centers and more resources,” says this health worker. Inform sexual partners Screening is not the only tool to prevent STIs. The study of contacts, as was initially demonstrated in the covid-19 pandemic and now in the monkeypox epidemic, it is a great control strategy. García insists on the importance of a person recently diagnosed with an STI notifying their sexual partners. But it is not always easy. “Awareness campaigns are needed and destigmatization. To this day it is still very difficult to tell a person you have been with that you have gonorrhea. It can cause a conflict. But the study of contacts is a very useful tool,” he points out. Related news Vaccination is also important. In this sense, Catalonia will include, starting this school year, vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in students boys who are in sixth grade, aged 11 to 12, as announced by the Ministry of Health last May.In addition, Catalonia, like the rest of the autonomous communities, is preventively vaccinating against monkeypox to people considered within the groups priority: men who have sex with men and are in pre-exposure proxylaxis programs (Prep) and in prevention programs for people who already have HIV Prep, popularly known as the anti-AIDS pill, is financed by the Ministry of Health and is taken by men who have sex without a condom with men before the sexual act. It is another control tool. And, finally, as García points out, it is important before “living without fear”. “Because if you’re afraid, you hide your head like an ostrich, and you don’t go to the health system for help,” he settles.