According to a recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Iceland holds the dubious honour of having the highest incidence of syphilis in Europe per capita at 15.4 cases per 100,000 individuals. Furthermore, the morbidity rate has been on the rise, seeing an enormous increase in 2017.
Iceland's chief epidemiologist cited unprotected sex as “the only logical” explanation. According to him, other sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise as well.
“The frequency of chlamydia is high as well, probably the most in Europe”, Thorolfur Gudnason told RÚV.
Despite having decreased somewhat in the past decade, a total of 1,850 chlamydia cases were diagnosed last year, down from around 2,300 cases a decade ago.
“Chlamydia occurs mainly in young people of both sexes aged 18 to 25. Syphilis has mainly occurred in men, among others homosexual men. It is worth noting that the increase here has primarily been explained by the movement of people to Iceland, foreigners”, Thorolfur Gudnason explained.
According to him, the symptoms of chlamydia can be little to none, making regular check-ups especially important.
Nevertheless, his unorthodox method of combatting the STD outbreak by starting in school has admittedly led to protests.
“There are a lot of people against this idea, many parents”, Thorolfur Gudnason told reporters. “But we need to have a thorough discussion about this and to do everything we can to stop the spread of these diseases, which can turn very serious”.
If nothing is done, syphilis can cause heart, brain, and nervous disorders.
Primary school in Iceland, a nation of 360,000, includes pupils aged 6 to 16.