A practical guide to help diagnose and treat gonorrhea and syphilis



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(Belgian) A practical clinical guide was developed to help diagnose and treat gonorrhea and syphilis, the Federal Center for Specialization in Health (KCE) announced. Such a tool, intended primarily for general practitioners, did not yet exist in Belgium. Another guide will be published for Chlamydia as these three sexually transmitted infections (STDs) become more and more prevalent.

"The number of STI cases is increasing alarmingly in Belgium, as in the rest of the world," warns KCE. Chlamydia, gonhorria and syphilis are the top three places on the podium. Chlamydia infection, diagnosed primarily in young women, accounts for half of all new STIs. Thus, the number of chlamydia cases increased from 9.1 per 100,000 population in 2002 to 60.1 per 100,000 inhabitants by 2016. Gonorrhea and syphilis affect men who have sex with men. These diseases often go unnoticed, preventing treatment and thus promoting their spread. However, they can lead to serious complications, infertility or repeated abortions, the center says. To make matters worse, although these STIs can be treated with antibiotics, increasing resistance "due to the irresponsible use of these drugs" makes treatment more difficult. To standardize diagnosis and treatment of these infections and according to WHO recommendations, KCE developed two practical guides: one for gonorrhea and syphilis and the other for chlamydia. It is important to detect these STIs in time, insists the KCE. To do this, discussing sexual health with all patients, even those who do not seem to be at risk, is paramount. A screening test can then be proposed. In addition, the federal center is developing an interactive online tool to help clinicians discuss STDs in consultation. Free, will be available in the coming months. (Belgian)

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