The data indicate that in relation to HIV infection, Portugal has been achieving good results, but “even so, the numbers of new infections in Portugal remain higher compared to what is the European Union average”.
“But when we define, for example, the cases and new cases of syphilis there, the number has been increasing, that is, there are more cases than a few years ago and it does not seem to be related to notification changes”, said the infiologist, who spoke to the Lusa agency about the International Condom Day, which is scheduled this Saturday.
Isabel Aldir recalled that this disease had an “important expression” in the last century, but that it has been decreasing and has now grown again, which is why it is urgent to “alert consciences to the use of condoms”.
Besides being a contraceptive method, “it contributes a lot in the fight against these sexually transmitted infections”, said the director of the program of the Directorate-General for Health.
“It is good that we are aware that these infections are often asymptomatic and, therefore, the person does not know that he is infected with one of them and transmits it”, creating “conditions for these transmission chains to be maintained and be very effective, “he warned.
STIs include diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, which are treated but have no cure, hepatitis C, which has “a highly effective treatment, although there are cases that cannot be treated”.
There are also gonorrhea, which can cause fertility problems in women, and syphilis, which “is difficult to diagnose” and “can go unnoticed”, despite being detectable in blood tests. However, “it can evolve over the years and even affect the brain, heart, nervous system, eyes and can be transmitted” from mother to child and give rise to cases of congenital syphilis.
To give expression to condom use, the date is celebrated on the eve of Valentine’s Day (February 14), to warn people to use this method so that they “live their sex life in a healthy way”.
The DGS will mark the date with a campaign, through the dissemination on social networks, ‘websites’ and free distribution of condoms, which aims to alert “the added value of a method as ancient as this, but so current even today”, he added .
This initiative is carried out in conjunction with the 10 signatory cities to the Paris Declaration that pledged to accelerate, by 2030, their local response to HIV and hepatitis infection, with a view to eliminating these infections as public health problems.
In 2020, around three million condoms and 800,000 packages of lubricating gel were distributed through non-governmental organizations, educational establishments, health centers, hospitals, prisons, etc.
Although there was a reduction in the resources distributed in a pandemic year, which “had consequences for the response of services and structures” that ensure their distribution, DGS argues that it is necessary to “continue to bet on free and facilitated access” to these methods even in the context of a pandemic.
“For this, it is imperative to rethink new forms of approaches” so that they reach the populations that need them, complying with the security and protection measures for covid-19.
Source: Correio da Manhã by www.cmjornal.pt.
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