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Number of reports of Gonorrhea and Syphilis keep going up in Flanders

by Editorial Staff in Health & Body , 05 april 2011

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

In spite of prevention campaigns sexually transmitted disease figures keep going up amongst the gay community of Flanders. This is primarily the case for Gonorrhea and Syphilis. The worrying trend can be derived from figures the Flemish minister of Public Health, Jo Vandeurzen, and the Flemish Agency for Care and Health made public.

In 2007 there were 495 cases of Gonorrhea and in ’08 and ’09 this went up to 630 and respectively 621. Over the first eleven months of 2010 598 cases were registered. For Syphilis there was a rise from 370 in 2007 to 532 in 2009, but last year the number of cases seem to have gone down again. There are significant regional differences as well. Antwerp, with a large gay community, jumps out.

‘It’s about the diseases that hit gay men in general – straight men only contract Gonorrhea occasionally,’ says Sandra Van den Eynde of Sensoa. ‘But the conclusion that unsafe sex is on the rise is premature. Although there are indeed signals that point in that direction, it is necessary to look deeper into it and it’s most certainly more complex than just that.’

“Gay men form a sexually very active group. Sexual activity has gone up within the gay community also because internet dating has made finding a sex partner much easier. When something is going around in that group, it’s passed on easily.’

‘The gay community is also hit by HIV. Earlier research showed that one out of twenty gay men is positive. And whoever’s HIV-positive, is also susceptible to other STD infections.’

‘There are all kinds of projects on location frequented by gays to push them to get tested. With a bigger effort, you’ll find a bigger group. It also came out that gay men make the greatest effort in prevention when it comes to getting tested after high-risk behavior. As a result they find STD infections often in an earlier stage.’

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 332, April 2019

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