Condom use is one of the most effective ways to stop transmission.


  • The drop in HIV cases has been accompanied by a huge rise in gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.


  • The greatest increase in STIs occurred among the youngest


  • Experts speak of a real pandemic. An expert explains why they were triggered and gives the keys to stop them.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have skyrocketed in recent years. It is true that HIV cases have decreased, but others, such as gonorrhea, syphilis or chlamydia, have not stopped growing without the health authorities being able to stop them. “The lack of information, the increase in unprotected sex and dating apps where you can get sexual contacts with great ease are behind this explosion“, explains Pablo Fernández, general director of Open House Clinics, specialized in sexually transmitted infections.

This increase reached historic records in 2021, the last year for which data were published. For examplegonorrhea went from 5,170 cases in 2015 to more than fifteen thousand in 2021according to the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network, and syphilis infections nearly doubled, but one of the biggest increases was in chlamydia, with an incidence per 100,000 people of 48.36.

This increase in transmissions mainly affects groups of young people between 20 and 35 years old, mainly men, although data vary according to the type of STI. “The biggest growth occurs even in the age group that goes from 16 to 25 years old”, specifies Fernández.

Why do STDs increase if more condoms are sold?

According to the latest Trends Observatory Cofarescondom sales increased by 51% since the end of the pandemic, but this has failed to stop sexually transmitted infections. “The reason is that the ones that grew the most, gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are transmitted through oral sex and this is a practice in which no one uses protection. For penetrations, there is a greater use of condoms, but for oral sex, people usually do not protect themselves”, explains the specialist.

“Furthermore,” he adds, “also there is flexibility in the use of condoms“, he laments. “The main reason is that the fear of HIV was lost. AIDS has gone from being a deadly disease to becoming a chronic infection. To this is added the taking of PREP, a pill that public health has dispensed since 2019 and which serves to prevent the transmission of HIV and whose intake is becoming increasingly common among the population. Those who take it have more unprotected sexual practices and this, of course, caused other STIs to grow exponentially.”

O less awareness and fear of AIDS and the sophistication of other contraceptive methodssuch as the contraceptive pill or the IUD, which do not prevent the contraction of STDs, has led to fewer and fewer young people opting for condoms.

These factors may have led to this increase in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, which is why a increased public awareness. If you’ve had sexual intercourse with a risk of STD infection, it’s important to go to the health center as soon as possible.

How to Stop the Transmission of STDs

“Education and awareness is the main barrier we have to eliminate in Spain,” says Fernández.STIs in our country continue to be a taboo that is not talked about. Information and awareness campaigns are urgent“, he highlights. “People don’t even know that STIs are transmitted through oral sex or that they can be asymptomatic and this is serious because when we don’t know we have them, we are transmitting them to other people through unprotected sexual intercourse.”

“That’s why in addition to the use of condoms, which is essential“adds the specialist”, it is also fundamental get tested regularly to break the chain of infections when they are asymptomatic, which happens often”. According to data from the Ministry of Health, chlamydia, for example, does not show signs in approximately 70% of infected men and 50% of women.”

“It’s something very curious that, for example, every one or two years or when the time comes, we take our car for an ITV inspection, check that everything is in order. sex, we don’t do this review, we don’t do this ITV until the infection doesn’t become a disease and we have symptoms. This is something that needs to be broken through education and awareness.”. “People need to know what sexually transmitted infections are, how to avoid them and what are good practices.”

Every day, one million people worldwide contract a sexually transmitted infection., According to WHO. “It will be the next pandemic“, indicates the specialist, “Only information will allow us to strengthen ourselves and make decisions that help to take care of our sexual health. But it must be done now, because if it is not faced and dealt with emphatically, we are going to face a serious public health problem that affects us all ”, he concludes.