Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise. In Spain, in 2019, more than 36,000 diagnoses of STIs subject to epidemiological surveillance were reported, all of them having seen an increase in recent years. The pattern by age and gender shows a greater incidence in men aged 25 to 34 years, with the exception of chlamydia infection, the rate of which is higher in women younger than 25 years.
Young people are increasingly becoming a vulnerable group to becoming infected with STIs, and the reasons for this are diverse. Experts allege that early initiation of sexual life, irregular condom use, access to multiple sexual partners through dating applications, treating sex as leisure and another form of socialization, alcohol and/or drug use in sexual contexts, or Among other things, gender imperatives that motivate risk taking.
Of course, the community of Madrid has not escaped this growth. As a result, the Directorate General of Public Health of the Ministry of Health has launched a new information campaign to raise awareness among young people aged 20 to 30 about the use of condoms to avoid sexually transmitted infections. With the motto “Always be vigilant”, another of its main objectives is to raise awareness among young people about the importance of maintaining safe relationships, using appropriate prevention methods in the field of responsible sexuality.
Slogans are varied and use youth slang: from “If you like someone, always be careful: wear a condom” to “If you’re ready, always be careful: wear a condom”, to “If you want are “great”, if you are “surviving”, “random” or “promoting”. With these expressions, the campaign aims to emphasize that, in any emotional state (such as towards a sexual partner feeling of complete confidence), prophylaxis remains the main shield and is the most effective of all contraceptive methods against STIs or HIV…
In parallel with “always caution”, which will remain in place until the end of this month, the regional government will soon launch an action plan for the prevention and control of HIV and other STIs. The latter includes emotional-sexual education as a strategic line to maintain safe relationships within a framework of respect and, thus, avoid health problems and unwanted pregnancies. This will include training for teachers and interventions with citizens; Strengthening access to rapid diagnostic tests for early detection and vaccination as an effective defense.
Due to the proliferation of intimate practices linked to drug abuse, a risk behavior linked to the transmission of pathology, the Community of Madrid will also activate a multidisciplinary program to provide a coordinated response to the chemsex phenomenon in the region. In addition to the Public Health Directorate and the Madrid Health Service, scientific societies, Madrid City Council, LGTBI institutions and rapid STI testing technicians will participate in this initiative.
Most frequent cases
According to a study conducted by the Health of the Community of Madrid, the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in the region are gonorrhea, candidiasis and syphilis, with a total of 4,309, 3,863 and 1,150 cases recorded respectively. 2023. Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, genital herpes, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B, and HIV are also the most common.
Regarding STIs, the Government of Madrid has a network of HIV and STI prevention and early diagnosis service networks with free rapid HIV tests. The system has cultural mediators with expertise in sexual health to provide advice and support. These professionals serve any person who needs it, in an environment of confidentiality and adapted to their needs. These are distributed across the region’s 14 health centers and another 38 municipal and NGO facilities, which conducted 18,850 tests in 2022.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Health develops a wide range of in-person and online training activities for professionals and families. And, finally, it has a series of subsidies for prevention projects aimed at nonprofits.