The global scale of sexually transmitted infections (STI) should be a “wake-up call” to governments, UN health experts said on Thursday, citing data showing that one in 25 people today have “at least one” curable STI, which occur at a rate of more than one million a day worldwide.

Highlighting the “concerning lack of progress” by countries in stopping the spread of these and other STIs, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that if left untreated, they can have a profound impact on the health of teens, adults and unborn children.

“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”, said Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director for Universal Health Coverage and the Life-Course at WHO.

Negative effects of the four curable STIs covered in the report – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis – include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, pregnancy complications, stillbirths, and an increased risk of HIV.

‘No substantial decline’ in infection levels

“On average, these data translate to one in every 25 people globally having at least one of these curable STIs with some of them experiencing multiple infections at one time,” said Dr Melanie Taylor, Medical Epidemiologist at WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

Noting the “incredibly high global burden” of STIs, Dr Taylor added that since WHO last published estimates on curable STI levels in 2012, “there has been no substantial decline” in infection levels.

WHO’s findings relate to 2016 global figures for women and men aged 15-49. (UN News)