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SEX

Spain launches safe sex campaign as STD rates soar among millennials

Spain will launch a campaign to urge young people to "always carry a condom on them" as the number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) surges, the government said Thursday.

Spain launches safe sex campaign as STD rates soar among millennials
Photo: ginasanders/Depositphotos

The news comes a week after the World Health Organization expressed alarm at the lack of progress on curbing STI or diseases (STD), with one expert warning of complacency as dating apps spur sexual activity.

In Spain, videos and ads will be posted from Monday on social networks, music platforms and media that 14- to 29-year-olds most follow, the health ministry said.

“It's normal that you want to do it in your parents' bed. What isn't normal is that you want to complicate your life,” reads one ad, going on to show the number of new cases of HIV and other infections.

In a statement, the health ministry urged “everyone — and particularly the young — to always have a condom on them and use it.”   

“The use of condoms has dropped among the 15- to 18-year-olds over the last few years,” Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo told reporters.   

She said there was complacency over STI, including infection by the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

The campaign is a “first shock measure” to challenge the rise of STI among young people, the statement said.   

The number of cases of gonorrhoea, for instance, has risen an average of more than 26 percent annually between 2013 and 2017, according to the ministry.   

Syphilis “has risen less but in 2017, it reached its highest peak since the start of statistics in Spain: 10.61 infections per 100,000 residents compared to 2.57 in 1995.”

The highest rates of chlamydia, meanwhile, are among 20- to 24-year-olds and particularly women, the ministry said.   

In 2017, Spain registered close to 24,000 cases of infection by gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia and LGV, a sexually-transmitted disease, according to the statement.

READ MORE:  Seven of the best cheesy chat up lines in Spanish

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HEALTH

Monkeypox case in Tuscany brings Italian total to four

The number of recorded monkeypox cases in Italy has now risen to four after health authorities on Tuesday confirmed an infection in eastern Tuscany.

Monkeypox case in Tuscany brings Italian total to four

The 32-year-old patient, currently being treated in hospital in the town of Arezzo, had reportedly returned to the area on May 15th following a holiday in the Canary Islands.

Three other confirmed cases are being treated at the Spallanzani infectious diseases hospital in Rome.

The first Italian case of monkey smallpox, or monkeypox, was also in a man who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, doctors at Spallanzani said last Thursday.

At least 160 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in May 2022 in non-African countries where the virus isn’t endemic, almost all in Europe: mostly Spain, the UK and Portugal and with single-digit cases in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Italy.

Spain is now the non-endemic country with the highest number of monkeypox infections in the world – 36 – with 22 more suspected.

READ ALSO: What is Spain doing to deal with rising monkeypox cases?

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Monkeypox is known to spread via close contact with an animal or human with the virus. It can be transmitted via bodily fluids, lesions, respiratory droplets or through contaminated materials, such as bedding.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than those of smallpox: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. 

Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The unprecedented outbreak of the monkeypox virus has put the international community on alert.

On Monday, the European Union urged member states to take steps to ensure positive cases, close contacts, and even pets be quarantined as this is a zoonotic virus (a virus that spreads from animals to humans).

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