Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another through unprotected sex or genital contact. STIs are common in the Netherlands. Many STIs don't have symptoms, but if left untreated STIs can have a serious health consequences.
In 2016, the number of people who were tested at a Dutch STI clinic for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) increased, after a decrease in 2015. A total of 143,139 consultations were registered at the STI clinics, an increase of 5 percent compared to 2015.The percentage of people diagnosed with an STI has also increased, to 18.4 percent in 2016. It is estimated that the number of STI consultations at the general practitioner has decreased slightly. This emerges from the RIVM report 'Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV, in the Netherlands in 2016'.
The number of diagnosed cases of gonorrhoea and syphilis is steadily rising. This increase is mainly caused by an increase in the number of diagnoses in MSM. The number of gonorrhoea diagnoses at the STI clinics has risen in the past year with 13 percent, to 6,092 infections. The number of syphilis diagnoses increased by 30 percent compared to 2015, totalling 1,223 infections. Out of all syphilis infections, 95 percent was diagnosed in MSM. GPs also reported an increase in the number of diagnoses of gonorrhoea in men. In 2015 there was an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous year (figures from 2016 are not yet available).
In women and heterosexual men, chlamydia is the most common STI. In 2016, 20,698 chlamydia infections were diagnosed at the STI clinics, an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous year. The increase in the number of positive tests for chlamydia is a trend that has been signalled since 2013. More chlamydia infections were also detected by GPs. By 2015, there were an estimated 35,400 diagnoses, compared with 33,800 in the year 2014. The number of chlamydia diagnoses among MSM remains stable.
In 2016, 285 new HIV diagnoses were detected at the STI clinics, approximately the same number as in 2015 (288); 93 percent was detected in MSM. The percentage of positive HIV tests in MSM has decreased since 2008; from 3.0 percent to 0.8 percent in 2016. The number of HIV patients that had their 'first care encouter' at a Dutch HIV treatment centre decreased again, from 1,033 cases in 2015 to 976 in 2016.