Despite improving treatments and a worldwide campaign to practice safe sex, around one in 25 people have an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) around the globe. Sexual contact is known to transmit over 30 types of parasites, bacteria and viruses, which can then lead to serious infections and diseases.
It’s little wonder that Europeans turn to Google when they want to learn more about STIs. Some of the infections have easy symptoms to look out for, whereas others can be asymptomatic. Certain STIs can also be treated and cured, but it depends on how quickly the infection is caught. Other types of infections require ongoing medical treatment to combat the resulting health complications.
A study conducted by an online STI testing clinic, accuratehivstdtesting.com, found that Chlamydia was the most searched STI in 27 countries. Syphilis was also a popular search term and was the top STI googled in 19 countries. Third on the list was Hepatitis B., which was the top googled STI in 12 countries.
What is the most common STI to be googled in Europe?
Chlamydia appears in the top three most googled STI in the majority of European cities. This bacterial infection is usually spread via infected genital fluids, such as semen and vaginal discharge. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child.
If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, as well as infertility in women. Some men may get epididymitis as a result of the STI, which means that their testicles become swollen and painful. However, Chlamydia can be treated using antibiotics which should clear up the infection easily enough.
The study also found that countries such as Spain and Germany googled Scabies the most often. Whilst the infection isn’t only spread through sexual contact, it is considered an STI due to the frequency that it is transmitted during sex. Scabies is highly infectious, although it is not a serious condition. The rash can take up to eight weeks to appear after infection and is characterized by being itchy and having raised red spots.
Genital herpes also commonly appeared in the top five most googled STIs in Europe. The symptoms include small blisters around the genital area, accompanied by an itching or burning sensation. Sufferers may also experience a feeling of burning when they urinate. Although symptoms are a good indication that someone may have herpes, their appearance doesn’t necessarily suggest that the infection has been newly acquired. Herpes symptoms can first appear weeks, months or years after the infection was initially contracted.
What’s the most googled STI in the UK?
In September 2021, the UK googled Chlamydia, Genital warts and Scabies a total of 110,000 times each. These three infections are the STIs that appeared most frequently in Britons’ search queries during that month. Herpes and Syphilis were the next highest STI search terms, having each been googled on 90,500 occasions throughout September.
Genital warts appear as painless lumps around the genital area. The infection can cause itching or even bleeding from the anus or genital area, as well as a change in the flow of urine (such as moving sideways rather than straight down).
Cases in the UK are most common amongst younger people aged 15-24 years old, people of black ethnicity, and gay and bisexual men. The UK government advises that those most at risk of STIs get regularly tested, as well as practice safe sex with the use of condoms.
There has been a recorded decrease in STIs from 2019 to 2020 in the UK. Chlamydia saw cases fall by -29% from 229,213 to 161,672, whilst Warts fell by -46%, from 50,700 in 2019 to 27,473 in 2020. The overall change in STIs over the recorded period was -32%.
What’s the most googled STI in France?
The study found that people in France were searching for Chlamydia and Syphilis more frequently than any other STI. Both infections were googled 74,000 in September 2021, whilst Scabies, otherwise known as Gale, was searched for on 60,500 occasions.
Hepatitis B. is the fourth most googled STI in France, as it was searched for 18,100 times. It is a liver infection that is spread through bodily fluids and blood. Whilst it is considered an STI, Hepatitis can also be spread through infected blood.
Some people may not experience any symptoms, although others can experience several signs that they have the infection. For example, sufferers may experience flu-like symptoms, diarrhea and jaundice (which causes yellowed skin and eyes).
Symptoms can sometimes end after one to three months without treatment. However, severe Hepatitis B. can last up to six months and might need medication to reduce the chance of permanent liver damage. People with chronic Hepatitis B. can sometimes require lifelong treatment or monitoring to make sure that their liver remains healthy.
What’s the most googled STI in Germany?
Germans googled Scabies, otherwise known as Krätze, 201,000 times in September 2021. This infection received significantly more searches than Chlamedyia, which was googled on 110,000 occasions. The third most popular STIs to be googled in Germany was both Herpes and Syphilis, which were both subject to 90,500 searches online.
Syphilis is a serious infection that is spread through a person having sex with someone already infected. Unlike some other STIs, treatment for Syphilis is imperative, although a short course of antibiotics is usually all it takes to cure the infection. Symptoms for Syphilis can appear in the form of painless ulcers or sores, a red rash and flu-like signs, such as fatigue and headaches.
Untreated Syphilis can spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain if it is left untreated for years. It’s important that people who practice sex without condoms get regularly tested so that they can pick up on STIs early on. Some people don’t experience signs of an STI, which means that they can only find out they have it with a test. Even Syphilis symptoms may disappear over time, but the infection won’t be cured without a course of medication.
What’s the most googled STI in Spain?
As with Germany, Scabies was the most commonly googled STI in Spain. The infection (called Sarna in Spanish), was searched for 49,500 times during September 2021. Chlamydia was the second most searched STI in Spain and appeared 40,500 times from individual searches.
Gonorrhea was subject to 33,100 searches in Spain during September 2021. The bacterial infection is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids such as vaginal and penis discharge. Women may get an infection in their cervix or urethra from the bacteria, which can lead to complications if the sufferer is pregnant.
Thick green or yellow discharge is a common sign of Gonorrhoea, whilst women may also experience irregular bleeding in between their periods. The infection can be easily treated using an antibiotic injection, which can result in an improvement of symptoms within a few days. After treatment, clinics require patients to return so that they can monitor the infection and see whether the treatment has cured it or at least reduced the risk.
What is the least googled STI in Europe?
Across many European countries researched in the study, Granuloma Inguinale was found to be one of the least googled STIs. It was googled only 720 times in the UK, 320 times in Germany and a mere ten times in France during September 2021.
The infection is one of the rarer STIs, especially in developed countries. Granuloma Inguinale causes large, painless lumps to appear around the genital area, as well as the face of the sufferer. The lumps then burst and leave open sores. Liquid from the sores is tested to confirm that the patient has the infection before they are put on a course of antibiotics.
Chancroid was only googled 2,900 times in the UK, 1,300 times in Germany and on 1,600 occasions in Spain. However, it did appear more commonly in French searches as it was googled 14,800 times. It’s a bacterial infection that tends to cause symptoms after a few days to a week. Large ulcers can form around the genital area, as well as painful swelling in the groin and lymph nodes.
Pubic lice is another common STI, although it didn’t receive as many Google searches in European countries compared to other infections. It was searched for 8,100 times in the UK, 9,900 times in Germany and 4,400 times in Spain. Unlike some other STIs, pubic lice are parasitic insects that live in pubic hair, although they can also reside in facial hair such as beards.