February 26, 2022 | 09:00
An infectious disease specialist warns of the risks of sexually transmitted infections
It is a tradition that carnival days are marked by parties, in addition to the heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. Although it is a time of pleasure and euphoria, people must be careful not to make certain mistakes, such as having unprotected sex with strangers. This is due to the high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The alert comes from the infectious disease specialist who works in Ipatinga, Carmelinda Lobato, in an interview with Diário do Aço.
According to the doctor, among the main STIs are syphilis, HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis (B and C) and HPV. “All of this can lead to very concerning health conditions. Syphilis, for example, has emerged in recent years as a very common STI. There is a steady increase in the number of cases,” he said.
Data from the Ministry of Health indicates that, from 2010 to 2020, Brazil recorded 783,000 cases of acquired syphilis, with a significant growth in the disease. In 2010, there were 3,925,000 occurrences of this infection, and a decade later the number rose to 152,900, a total 39 times higher.
The infectiologist points out that syphilis in pregnant women can contaminate the baby, which is a very serious concern. “Right now our priority is to make an effort to get people tested for syphilis. The examination is free and available at the basic health office. Everyone should be aware, especially pregnant women, to treat correctly, avoiding contamination of the baby. Thus, we can reduce the cases of congenital syphilis,” he explained.
Dr. Carmelinda Lobato recalls that the most effective way to protect oneself from STIs, especially during Carnival, is through the use of condoms (condoms), which are distributed free of charge in health facilities. “It’s easy to put on and doesn’t interfere with sex at all. Pleasure happens the same way. The use of condoms is especially valid in relationships with strangers, after all it is not written on the forehead of anyone who has HIV or syphilis, for example,” he warned.
The infectiologist also stresses the importance of having people tested to find out if they have STIs. “This testing strategy is very important. We have testing and counseling centers where people can get tested for free. From the moment the person discovers their condition, early, they can be referred for treatment. In addition, she must protect herself during sexual intercourse so as not to transmit it to other people. It is his duty,” he said.
At the Control Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases of Ipatinga (CCDIP), rapid tests for the detection of STIs are offered to the public. The CCDIP is located at Avenida Zita Soares de Oliveira, nº 555, in Novo Centro, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Vale do Aço recorded nearly 800 cases of acquired syphilis in 2021
The Minas Gerais State Health Department (SES-MG), through the Regional Health Superintendence (SRS) of Coronel Fabriciano, informed Diário do Aço that in 2021, 528 cases of syphilis acquired in Ipatinga were reported, 96 cases in Coronel Fabriciano, 108 in Timóteo and 59 cases in Santana do Paraíso. A total of 791.
In the case of syphilis in pregnant women, 151 cases were reported in Ipatinga, 62 cases in Coronel Fabriciano, 41 in Timóteo and 34 cases in Santana do Paraíso. As for congenital syphilis, when the baby contracts the disease from the mother, 36 cases have been registered in Fabriciano, 119 cases in Ipatinga, 19 cases in Timóteo and 24 cases in Paraíso.
Regarding HIV cases in adults, 40 cases were recorded in the municipality of Ipatinga, 17 cases in Coronel Fabriciano, 4 cases in Timóteo and 7 cases in Santana do Paraíso. Regarding HIV in pregnant women, 4 cases were reported in Ipatinga, 3 cases in Coronel Fabriciano, 1 in Timóteo and 1 case in Santana do Paraíso. No cases of HIV have been reported among children in the Vale do Aço region.
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