More than one million people aged between 15 and 49 catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) each day, according to new data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The prevalence of STIs is topped by four infections – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis.
The study found there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhoea, 6.3 million relating to syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis.
If left untreated, the leading STIs can trigger serious chronic health effects including neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and an increased risk of HIV.
WHO warned STIs, preventable through safe sexual practices and largely treatable with medications such as benzathine penicillin, remain a persistent and widespread threat globally.
“We’re seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide,” said Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO.
“This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.”