Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in Greece

The problems of the growth of sexually transmitted diseases, cancer of the genital organs and autoimmune diseases with skin manifestations were discussed by doctors, participants of the EDAE conference in Thessaloniki.

According to experts, in recent years there has been an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (Σεξουαλικώς Μεταδιδόμενα Νοσήματα, ΣΜΝ), such as syphilis and gonorrhea. And cases of human papillomavirus are on the decline, thanks to the HPV vaccination. In addition, over the 6 years from 2012 to 2018, there was a 262% increase in medical cosmetic surgeries on the vulva, where most precancerous lesions occur.

The conclusions made by the experts were analyzed at the conference “Εαρινές Ημέρες της ΕΔΑΕ” of the Hellenic Dermatological and Venereological Society (EDAE), which takes place in Thessaloniki on April 15-17, 2022 under the auspices of the Region of Central Macedonia and Central Asia, writes

EDAE President Yannis Barkis, speaking about the conference, noted that “during it, the latest data on sexually transmitted diseases will be reported, specialized reports and presentations will be held on autoimmune and autoimmune diseases, as well as modern biological methods for the treatment of these diseases, references to precancerous lesions and neoplasms of the genital organs and modern treatment protocols for their treatment, as well as cosmetic and invasive dermatological procedures. The expert added that dermatology-venereology is constantly evolving, enriched with new drugs and new medical devices, and is the only specialty that can provide reliable and effective diagnostic and therapeutic solutions.

genital cancer

Dimitris Sgouros, General Secretary of EDAE, Research Fellow of Athens Medicine at the 2nd Clinic for Venereal and Dermatological Diseases of the Attikon General Hospital, speaking about precancerous lesions and cancer of the genital organs, stated that “the female genital organs are not the most common localization of skin cancer. However, such incidents are becoming more frequent. The biggest problem is the late diagnosis of these tumors, as their clinical presentation as precancerous lesions can be “deceptive” in the early stages. In particular, penile cancer is more common in men, with an incidence of about 1 case per 100,000 population. In contrast, in women, vulvar cancer is the 4th most common form of gynecological urinary tract cancer.

Risk factors are common to both sexes, the most common of which are chronic infection with high-risk strains of HPV, smoking, obesity, and chronic inflammatory skin diseases (eg, multiple sclerosis and atrophic lichen). The role of a dermatologist-venereologist is threefold, this is the only specialty that can fully cope with all cases of venereal diseases of the external genital organs:

a) prevention by treatment of precancerous lesions,

b) early diagnosis with early diagnostic examinations,

c) urgent appropriate treatment.

Herpes, HPV and psoriasis

Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GNTH Papageorgiou 2nd Dermatological Clinic, EDAE Special Secretary Zoe Apalla spoke about new drugs and new vaccines, including a herpes zoster drug.

She emphasized that: “The rapid growth in the field of research is bringing us many new drugs, which mainly deal with inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. The new drugs are safe, easy to use, and provide perfectly clear skin that is life-changing for patients who receive them.

At the level of vaccines, we now have a 9-fold vaccine (9-δύναμο εμβόλιο) against human papillomavirus, which protects not only from cervical cancer, but also from papillomas. It is usually given in two or three doses, depending on the person’s age at the start of the vaccination. In addition to teenagers, even some adults (under 45) who have not yet been vaccinated can receive the vaccine after discussing the matter with their dermatologist.

An important starting point is a new, completely safe, recombinant herpes zoster vaccine that protects against its occurrence and the excruciating pain that accompanies the course of the disease.

Cosmetic (aesthetic) operations on the genitals

Dermatologist-venereologist, board member of EDAE Sotiris Theoharis, speaking about aesthetic invasive dermatology operations to solve problems in the proctogenital area, emphasized for his part: “In recent years, a dermatologist faces a new therapeutic task. Increasingly, it receives requests, mainly from women and men, for invasive procedures to restore the proctogenital area, both to improve their appearance and to restore functionality.

Over the last 6 years from 2012 to 2018 there was an increase by 262% of medical and cosmetic operations on the external genitalia (ASAPS – statistics 2018). “A modern dermatologist with deep knowledge of the pathology and anatomy of the vulva and anal area, familiar with the use of injectable implants (hyaluronic acid, etc.) in other anatomical positions (face, body), with extensive experience in therapeutic use medical devices (laser, radio frequency), as well as regularly undergoing appropriate training in the use of dermatological operations – today plays a leading role,” the report says.

Sex education and information for adolescents

At the press conference, the Deputy Regional Minister of Public Health and Social Solidarity Melina, Maria Dermentzopoulou, mentioned the district’s secondary school program for the prevention of venereal diseases in adolescents. In this regard, the Region used European resources to strengthen health structures while supporting the efforts of the scientific community that benefit society as a whole.

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