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In 2021, more than 138,000 people were tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at a centre for sexual health. This is 30% higher than in 2020, but also 8% lower than in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who were tested, one in five had an STI. This was lower than in 2020 but higher than in 2019. These data are taken from the annual RIVM report on STIs. 

People at higher risk of contracting an STI can get tested for free at the sexual health centres . Since August 2019, the sexual health centres also offer care to participants in a national PrEP pilot study. PrEP is a medicine that prevents an infection with HIV. Participants in this pilot receive PrEP and are tested for STIs every three months. Almost all the participants in the pilot are men who have sex with men (MSM).


Chlamydia is the most common STI, especially among young people. In 2021, chlamydia was diagnosed more than 20,000 times. This is similar to the number of diagnosis in 2019. Of the total number of female visitors, 16.2% were diagnosed chlamydia . Among heterosexual men, this was 21.3%, and among MSM, it was 12.2%. These percentages are lower than in 2020, but also higher than in 2019. Among MSM in the PrEP pilot, the percentage of chlamydia diagnoses dropped from 11.7% in 2019 to 10% in 2021. 


In 2021, the sexual health centres diagnosed gonorrhoea almost 8,000 times,  which is comparable to 2019. This STI occurs mostly among MSM. The percentage of positive gonorrhoea tests among MSM was 12.4%, which is an increase compared with 2019, when it was at 11.6%. Among MSM in the PrEP pilot, the percentage of gonorrhoea diagnoses fell from 10.7% in 2019 to 9.2% in 2021. 


Last year, almost 1,400 cases of syphilis infection were diagnosed, a little lower than in 2019. Almost all cases were among MSM. The percentage of positive syphilis tests among MSM was 2.6%, comparable to that for 2019. Among MSM in the PrEP pilot, the percentage of syphilis diagnoses fell slightly from 2.2% in 2019 to 1.7% in 2021.


In 2021, 128 visitors to sexual health centres were informed that they were infected with HIV. This is five more people than in 2020. Among these persons, 110 were MSM. In 2021, 794 people with HIV visited an HIV treatment centre for the first time; this was 18% less than in 2019. 

PrEP pilot study

Since the start of the PrEP pilot study in 2019, a total of almost 9,800 people had an initial PrEP consultation. Of these, 3,450 had their initial consultation in 2021.