Every day, more than a million people contract an STI. In 2020, the WHO estimated that 374 million people contracted one of the following four STIs: chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhea (82 million), syphilis (7.1 million) and trichomoniasis (156 million). .

STIs have been increasing in France since the early 2000s, and their monitoring is an essential part of preventing these diseases . The Covid-19 crisis had seriously reduced the use of screening, but these data concerning 2021 are more reassuring. They seem to indicate that this drop was made up for bacterial STIs, unlike HIV.

On the occasion of International AIDS Day on December 1st, we wanted to dedicate an article to the prevention of sexually transmitted infections.



STIs are caused by infectious agents. These could be viruses, bacteria or parasites. In this sense, we can classify them into 3 main categories .

Bacterial sexually transmitted infections

· Syphilis: In France, the number of syphilis diagnoses in CeGIDD (free center for information, screening and diagnosis of STIs) has been relatively stable since 2016. In 2021, 3,300 cases of syphilis were diagnosed there. Syphilis mainly affects men who have sex with men : this is 78% of cases diagnosed in 2021 in CeGIDD. In the absence of early treatment, this disease becomes chronic and the risk of transmission increases.

· Gonorrhea (or gonococcus): Also known under the names gonorrhea, hot piss or tickle , gonorrhea mainly affects people under 30, and in particular men. An increase in cases of gonorrhea has been observed in France for several years (between 15,000 and 20,000 new cases each year, more than half of which occur in men under 30). If left undiagnosed and untreated, this infection can lead to infertility.

· Chlamydia (or chlamydia): Chlamydia infections are very common among young people aged 15 to 25 and affect both men and women. They are one of the leading causes of infertility in women . In France, it is estimated that nearly 4% of young girls under 25 are infected with chlamydia and this figure is between 10 and 15% in the Paris region.

Parasitic sexually transmitted infections

· Trichonomasis: Trichonomasis is the most widespread sexually transmitted infection and young adults are particularly at risk. In 2020, the WHO estimated that 156 million people had contracted it worldwide. Trichonomasis represents 40% of STIs contracted worldwide every day.

Other viral diseases

· Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus which is transmitted mainly through sexual relations or contact with infected blood. This infection is mild in most cases. But in about 10% of infected people, hepatitis B becomes a chronic infection that can cause serious problems, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. In France, it is estimated that 280,000 to 300,000 French people are affected by chronic hepatitis B, but almost half of them are unaware of it .

· Genital herpes: Genital herpes is a highly contagious and sexually transmitted viral disease. After the primary infection, the virus settles in the body and “goes to sleep” there . It then manifests itself, during outbreaks, by small blisters evolving into sores, located on or near the sexual organs. Globally, it is the fourth most common sexually transmitted infection. In France, the most recent studies show that genital herpes affects approximately 17% of the population. The latter also show that women are more affected than men.

· HIV: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that attacks the body's immune system: HIV destroys these cells, weakening the effectiveness of the infected person's immune system against infections such as tuberculosis and certain cancers. In France, the number of discoveries of HIV seropositivity in 2021 was estimated at 5,013, a stable number compared to 2020. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

· Human papillomavirus (HPV): Human papillomaviruses are very contagious: 70% to 80% of men and women will encounter at least one papillomavirus during their life . In 90% of cases, the virus is eliminated by our immune system within 2 years following contamination, while in the remaining 10% of cases, the infection persists and can have serious consequences, such as a possible progression towards a lesion. precancerous and, within 10 to 30 years, towards cancer. Genital warts (or condyloma) are very contagious and annoying benign lesions that can appear following a papillomavirus infection. 100,000 new cases per year of genital warts are recorded in France among men and women. In France, nearly 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year and around 1,000 women die from it. In total, 6,400 cancers are linked to HPV viruses each year, including one in four in men.


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that are transmitted during sexual intercourse, with or without penetration, whether anal or vaginal . Some of them can also be transmitted during sexual caresses, by exchange of sexual fluids or by direct contact with infected lesions or mucous membranes. Infections can also be transmitted during oral sex , fellatio or cunnilingus.

The most dangerous thing about STIs is that they are most often asymptomatic ; When you contract an STI, you don't feel "sick." However, being asymptomatic does not mean that you do not have an STI . We can therefore be contagious without realizing it, and transmit the virus to other people.

When symptoms appear, a few weeks after contamination, they can be different between men and women. In women, they result in yellowish or bloody vaginal discharge, stomach aches, inflammation of the cervix, burning when urinating, pain during penetration . In men, symptoms of an STI may include urethral discharge, genital ulcers, painful urination, and abdominal pain.



The good news is that most sexually transmitted infections are treatable, but they still need to be diagnosed in time, before they develop into viral illnesses for some. This is why prevention is essential . Here are 5 solutions to prevent STIs .

1. Wearing a condom

Wearing a condom remains the most effective solution against the transmission of STIs. In internal penetration, as for oral practices (fellatio and cunnilingus), the condom is obligatory to protect against sexually transmitted infections , as long as you are not certain that your partner is not carrying a STI.

Since January 1, 2023, “Eden” and “Get out covered!” brand condoms! » can be covered 100% by Health Insurance , without medical prescription if you are under 26 years old, or 60% with medical prescription if you are 26 years old or over.

Accompanied by a lubricant, the condom will further ensure its protective role . Yes, intimate lubricant helps avoid unpleasant surprises like a condom that tears, and also guarantees comfort in your romantic relationships.

2. Don’t forget to do screenings

Screenings are carried out regularly, or based on risk taking. Where and how to get tested? They can be carried out in different places: in a laboratory with a prescription issued by your attending physician, in a CeGIDD (free center for information, screening and diagnosis of STIs), or in a planning center for the youngest.

3. PReP treatment for people at risk

PReP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or Pre-Exposure Prohylaxis in English), is an HIV prevention strategy. It consists of taking an antiretroviral medication continuously or discontinuously to avoid being contaminated by HIV. This treatment is only reserved for HIV-negative people, aged over 18, and who have a risky lifestyle . This mainly concerns men who have sex with men, transgender people, intravenous drug users with needle sharing, sex workers exposed to unprotected sex, people from regions with high prevalence (sub-Saharan Africa, India, Guyana, etc.) and people with multiple partners.

4. Vaccination

Vaccination is possible for certain STIs , such as hepatitis B and papillomavirus . Vaccination against hepatitis B is compulsory, in France, for all infants born from January 1, 2018, and recommended for children and adolescents up to the age of 15: vaccinate them when they are young, it 's to protect them for later when they encounter the virus. Vaccination against HPV viruses is recommended for girls and boys aged 11 and over.

5. Do not hesitate to consult

If you have any symptoms or doubts, do not hesitate to consult your doctor . It is essential to understand what is happening in your body to treat yourself as quickly as possible and not pass on the infection . In most cases, STIs can be treated in just 2 days .


· Every day around the world, more than a million people contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) , the majority of which is asymptomatic.

· An estimated 374 million people each year contract one of the following four curable STIs : chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis.

· It is estimated that more than 500 million people (15 to 49 years old) have a genital infection with the Herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes)

· Human papillomavirus infection is associated with more than 311,000 deaths from cervical cancer each year.

· Nearly a million pregnant women were estimated to be infected with syphilis in 2016 , leading to more than 350,000 adverse birth outcomes.

Because intimate relationships should be a moment of pleasure and the health of partners is essential, the prevention of STIs remains the most effective solution to fight against the transmission of these infections. Nothing can ever be too careful: protecting yourself is essential!

To inform yourself about STIs, you will find information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and sexuality in general, in different structures, including:

  • the Regional AIDS Information and Prevention Centers (CRIPS),
  • Youth Information Offices (BIJ),
  • Youth Health Spaces .