Sexual and reproductive health

Four curable sexually transmitted infections still affect millions worldwide

Community outreach on the beach, distribution of condoms, Kenya
Jonathan Torgovnik

6 June 2019 | Published online by the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, the research shows that among men and women aged 15–49 years, there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhoea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis. These STIs have a profound impact on the health of adults and children worldwide. If untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV. They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.

WHO releases the first integrated progress report on HIV, hepatitis and STIs

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23 May 2019 | The new progress report being released today at the 72nd World Health Assembly reviews success and challenges in implementing the global health sector strategies, 2016-2021 on HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The report also outlines 8 joint actions for accelerating progress towards universal health coverage.

WHO publishes new estimates on congenital syphilis

Mother holding her baby, Ethiopia.
UNICEF Ethiopia

27 February 2019 | New estimates published today show that there were more than half a million (around 661,000) total cases of congenital syphilis in 2016, resulting in over 200,000 stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections globally, with approximately 6 million new cases each year. If a pregnant woman who is infected does not receive early and effective treatment, she can then transmit the infection to her unborn infant.

What's 'Super' about Super Gonorrhea?

Medical laboratory woman working with a microscope.

16 November 2018 | For World Antibiotic Awareness Week, WHO’s Dr Teodora Wi, a specialist in STIs talks about antimicrobial resistance and the implications for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, in particular gonorrhea. She explains exactly what are the current risks and challenges and what are the steps that need to be taken.

Malaysia eliminates mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

8 October 2018 | MANILA, Philippines – Malaysia today became the first country in the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region to be certified as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

Innovative approach sheds light on prevalence of STIs and bacterial vaginosis among women in sub-Saharan Africa

Mother holding her teen daughter in arms, Ivory Coast.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

27 February 2018 | Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common infection of the vagina, are widespread globally. These conditions have important health consequences, including genital symptoms, pregnancy complications, infertility, enhanced HIV transmission, and psychosocial effects. The World Health Organization estimated that, in 2012, there were 357 million new episodes of four curable STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis) and 417 million people had infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Global estimates of BV occurrence, however, have never been made. In a recently published study, investigators heeded this call to action by using combined data from 18 HIV prevention studies, including more than 37 000 women in sub-Saharan Africa, to estimate the prevalence of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HSV-2, and BV.

Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections
A WHO-sponsored Collection in PLOS Medicine

27 December 2017 | A collection of freely-available journal articles has been published in PLOS that looks at current issues around the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are common, diverse and dangerous. Some are easily treated if diagnosed, others, such as HIV have no cure and may be life threatening, and there are also new and emerging infections that can be transmitted sexually such as the Ebola and Zika viruses.

Shortages of benzathine penicillin. How big is the problem? And why it matters

27 December 2017 | Syphilis is unique among sexually transmitted diseases in that it remains curable with a single dose of penicillin (with no documented risk of resistance), formulated for this purpose as long-acting Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG). WHO estimates that every year, 930 000 pregnant women have probable active syphilis (transmissible during pregnancy) which results in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes (including organ deformities and prematurity) annually. Tragically, neonatal death and stillbirth account for more than half of those adverse birth outcomes.

Six Caribbean islands eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis


1 December 2017 | Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis today received a certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO) that validates their elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

fact buffet

Sexually Transmitted Infections

1 millionMore than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.

Fact sheet on STIs

1 of 4 STIs

357 million Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

Fact sheet on STIs

Major threat

Drug resistanceDrug resistance, especially for gonorrhoea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.

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Monitoring & estimates of STIs



Male and female latex condoms safety and efficacy

Document centre

Ebola outbreak


Test your knowledge on STIs

Q&A on healthy sex

Sex is part of our health and well-being, and it's important to talk about it. Join our Q&A on healthy sex and find out more on how to experience it safely. Ask your questions!

Posted by World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, February 14, 2019

TEDx Talks

How talking about sex could end STIs

Teodora Elvira Wi, WHO/HRP

In this funny and eye-opening talk about the challenges we face today with safe sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Teodora Elvira Wi shares heartwarming personal stories around sex, STIs and the urgent need to break down the stigma.