New sexual practices: beware of infections

In fact, about 30% of patients hiv positive people practice new sexual practices such as chemsexwhile the slamming is given to 16% of them.

According to the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine (SEMES)there are 357 million annual cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and more than 1 million STIs acquired every day.

Gonococcal infection (gonorrhea) it has grown the most since 2015: 729%.

These data highlight that sexually transmitted infections are an important public health problem both due to their magnitude and their complications and sequelae if early diagnosis and treatment are not carried out.

Faced with this reality, SEMES has launched one alerts about the urgent need for protection against new sexual practices.

New sexual practices: risk of infections

Within the new sexual practices is the so-called chemsex.

It is a growing phenomenon, which occurs mainly in large cities, and which is associated with risky practices that can facilitate the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in addition to causing serious health problems cardiovascular or mental.

Is considered chemsex to the intentional use of drugs, mainly of the stimulant and dissociative type, to have sexual relations for a long period of time (which can last from several hours to several days).

When the use of some of these drugs is done intravenously, the new sexual practice is called “slamming”.

According to experts, this practice results in the increased risk of infections in proportions similar to past times, with the terrible epidemic secondary to the consumption of intravenous heroin.

by the doctor Guillermo Burillo, coordinator of the SEMES Toxicology Group, although there is a great variety of substances used in the practice of the chemsex, some are more frequently consumed in this area:

As for example the gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHL/GBL), cocaine, mephedrone and methamphetamine, the poppers (inhaled use of amyl, butyl or isobutyl nitrites), ketamine, and drugs used for erectile dysfunction.

“The combination of some of these drugs produces disinhibition and sexual stimulation. In this context, it is common to practice unprotected sex with different sexual partners and the risk of contracting STIs, such as HIV, increases points out the expert.

In fact, in the words of the expert, around the 30% of HIV positive patients practice the chemsex, while the slamming is given to 16% of them:

“It is estimated that the practice of chemsex can triple the risk of HIV infection and even double the risk of STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, and is associated with 80% of HIV seroconversions.”

On the other hand, it has been detected in the new sexual practices, such as chemsexan increase in the use of drugs known as NPS (new psychoactive substances), easily accessible via the internet and rarely detectable in hospitals.

Substances that alone or in combination with other drugs have clinical consequences that are not yet well known, but of concern from an organic point of view.

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

The experts also added that it is important to note that there are more than 30 bacteria, viruses or parasites that are transmitted through sexual contact.

The 8 main pathogens etiological agents of STIs are: Treponema pallidum (syphilis)Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus (gonorrhea), Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis (trichomoniasis)hepatitis b virus, herpes simplex virus, HIV and human papilloma virus.

These pathogens are predominantly spread sexually, including vaginal, oral, anal sex, or direct contact with skin or mucous membranes.

There are 357 million annual cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and more than 1 million STIs acquired every day.

Agree with the doctor Juan González del Castillo, coordinator of INFURG-SEMESthere is significant overlap between HIV and other STIs: 28% of MSM diagnosed with syphilis and 15% of patients with gonococcus iidentified in STI centers were co-infected with HIV.

Some STIs, especially ulcerative ones, such as syphilis or genital herpes increase the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV infection.

The SEMES program, Leave your markaddresses this problem from Hospital Emergency Services by carrying out a selective screening of certain profiles of the population, who consult for diseases with a high prevalence of HIV and which are frequent reasons for consultation in our services.

From from January 1, 2021 to June 31, 2022, 116 Hospital Emergency Services have joined the project and 113,030 serologies have been performed in emergencies, with 517 new diagnoses.

In this sense, according to data from the Ministry of Health, in 2020 there were 1925 new cases of HIV.

Women: STIs and HIV

In relation to the increase in heterosexual transmission of HIV, women make up 1 in 4 new HIV infections according to data from the Ministry of Health.

It is estimated that, in Spain, one 20 and 25% of those infected with HIV are women.

In this waydoctor Iria Miguéns, coordinator of the The Mujeres de SEMES group has indicated that despite the strategies since the 80s in the implementation of healthier sexual behaviors – with awareness in the use of condoms – the transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases are conditioned by the health partner aspects for being a woman:

“The most frequent way in which women are infected with HIV is through sexual relations with an HIV-positive man. Globally, only 3 out of 10 adolescent and young women aged 15 to 25 have accurate and comprehensive knowledge about HIV.”

In addition, the expert has commented that more than 700 million women currently living married before turning 18:These women often have limited access to prevention information and limited power to protect themselves against HIV infection.”

According to UN Women, cases of involuntary/forced sterilization and forced abortion among women living with HIV have been reported in at least 14 countries worldwide.

Data from the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network and the different regional epidemiological surveillance systems, have reported in recent years more than 50,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections in women.

At this point, gonococcal infection (gonorrhea) has been the one that has grown the most since 2015: 729%.

Chlamydia was present in 64.8% of diagnosed cases. 15.6% of the diagnosed cases were of gonorrhea, followed by HIV (8%), syphilis (5.6%), hepatitis C (3.6%), hepatitis B (2.3%) and lymphogranuloma venereum (0 .1 %).

The prevalence of the HPV human papilloma virus in women in Spain is 14.3%, according to the estimates of Cleopatra study.

New sexual practices: recommendations

In this context of new sexual practices and the infections they can bring, it is also necessary to point out the increase in the number of couples, the implementation of new apps for sexual encounters, tourist areas and increased travel.

SEMES recommendations to curb the STI epidemic

1.- Receive information from an authorized socio-health center before starting sexual relations.

2.- Use a condom during sexual intercourse, whether for vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex

SEMES infographic

3.- After having had risky sexual relations, go to a health center as soon as possible.

4.- If you have risky sex or have multiple sexual partners, get tested for STIs regularly.

SEMES infographic

5.- Remember that contraceptives such as oral contraceptives, the morning-after pill or the vaginal ring do NOT prevent the spread of STDs.

Male and female condoms are the only contraceptive methods capable of preventing infection.

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