The GP more frequently consulted for STD

In the past year 110,000 Dutch persons consulted the GP for a STD or concern about HIV. That is a rise of about 30,000 compared to the previous year. Is safe sex impopular? Or is the barrier to consult the GP for this issue disappearing? More women than men consult the GP for STD risk or concern about HIV.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are beside respiratory tract, gastro-intestinal and urinary tract infections the most prevalent infectious diseases in The Netherlands. The most prevalent STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, HPV, hepatitis B and HIV infection. NIVEL-scientist, GP and epidemiologist Gé Donker: “A STD like chlamydia may be transmittable for several years without causing symptoms for the carrier, but may ultimately cause infertility in women due to infection of the adnexae. Timely treatment with antibiotics may prevent this long time scenario. Reason enough to timely detect, or better still, prevent the disease.”

STD consultations
GPs cover about two third to three quarters of all Dutch STD consultations. The past years already showed a steep rise in STD consultations at community STD-clinics. In the Dutch Sentinel General Practice (GP) Network the rise was not so apparent until 2011 when a steep rise for STD and concern about HIV consultations was observed. About 66,000 women and 44,000 men consulted the GP for this issue. Youngsters more often than older adults consult the GP for a STD or concern about HIV. The age group between 20 and 30 years consults their GP most frequently and more in the west of the country and in the large cities.
Heterosexual youngsters below 25
“The data of general practices are consistent with trends seen in community STD-clinics in the past year”, as confirmed by Gé Donker, project leader of the Dutch Sentinel GP Network. “Chlamydia is the most frequently diagnosed STD and over 50% of these infections is diagnosed in heterosexual youngsters under the age of 25 years. More attention for safe sex is of utmost importance, but the good news is that the taboo for being tested and for consulting the GP about the issue is gradually decreasing. That also partially explains the increase in STD and concern for HIV consultations in general practice. Fortunately, these consultations do not always lead to a diagnosis. But a STD consultation is a useful occasion to discuss safe sex and when a STD is diagnosed, it is of utmost importance that also partner(s) and/or previous partners receive treatment.”
Ministry of Health, wellfare ans Sports
Cooperating partners
Soa Aids Netherlands