Cases of sexually transmitted diseases in Denmark have reached previously unmatched levels and are still rising, the daily newspaper Berlingske reported. According to the State Serum Institute and the Danish family planning association Sex og Samfund ("Sex and society"), the level of STDs has reached epidemic proportions.
The 34,132 chlamydia cases reported in 2016 alone were the most recorded since the State Serum Institute began monitoring the disease in 1994.
In 2016, 3,478 people in Denmark were infected with gonorrhea — an increase of 27 percent in just one year. In 1999, there were 22 known cases of syphilis in Denmark. By 2016, there were 742 cases reported. According to the authorities, a huge number of unreported cases are suspected since many don't realize that they are infected. All in all, the number of gonorrhea and syphilis cases in Denmark exploded more than sixfold between 2005 and 2015 and continues to grow.
The spread of the diseases is particularly high among 15 to 29-year-olds — especially those living in large urban areas. Frederiksberg in the capital region leads in chlamydia cases, with 34 for every 1,000 young people. Copenhagen proper and Denmark's second-largest city Aarhus are close behind.
"We think it's deeply worrying that we are still seeing these numbers grow as they have for the past 10-15 years," Sex og Samfund head Bjarne Christensen told TV2.
While most sexually transmitted diseases (bar most resistant cases) respond quickly to treatment, they are still likely to cause serious consequences, if not dealt with in time. According to the National Board of Health, untreated chlamydia alone leads to approximately 500 women becoming infertile every year.
"Infertility caused by chlamydia is a serious problem," Christensen said. "However, undiagnosed and untreated syphilis and gonorrhea can have deadly consequences."
Christensen listed condoms and increased testing as the most foremost means of slowing down the rise of sexually transmitted diseases, venturing that the numbers are only poised to grow, unless something is done about the situation.
The Copenhagen municipality has introduced free home tests for chlamydia that are becoming increasingly popular among young people. According to Copenhagen's deputy mayor for health care, Sisse Marie Welling, the tests may come particularly handy for reasons of insecurity and shame surrounding a visit to the doctor.