The WHO has launched a new initiative on increasing awareness of STIs in developing countries. I thought the following fact was rather fascinating:

In pregnancy, untreated early syphilis is responsible for 1 in 4 stillbirths and 14% of neonatal (newborn) deaths. About 4% to 15% of pregnant women in Africa test positive for syphilis. Interventions to more effectively screen pregnant women for syphilis and prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease could prevent an estimated 492 000 stillbirths per year in Africa alone.

Syphilis, wow – can’t we treat this stuff really easily? Since it leads to stillbirths, this is not generally picked up in our measures of infant and child mortality (although in practice I think to some extent it is hard to exclude) but clearly this is an important issue. To read more about the top 10 facts on STIs, click here.

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