Norway health officials released the 2017 chlamydia statistics this week, not long after media reports flooded the internet concerning 7-Eleven Norge’s advertisement campaign for condoms, which said:
“Norway. Land of the fjords, the mountains, the midnight sun, and chlamydia. Norway has one of the highest rates of chlamydia in Europe. Visiting from abroad? Protect yourself against the locals! Get your condoms at 7-Eleven.”
So what do the numbers say?
- 25,130 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed in Norway. 29 of these cases were a variant of the chlamydia bacteria called lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)-these cases were mainly among men who have sex with men (MSM).
- Most chlamydia cases are diagnosed in the age group 20-24 years, both in women and men.
- The reported incidence was highest in Oslo, relative to the population.
- In the last four years there has been an increase of 21 percent in the number of tested. At the same time, we find fewer cases among those being tested. By 2017, the proportion of chlamydia positive was 6.8 per cent.
- The proportion of positive chlamydia samples among the subjects studied is higher in men than in women of all age groups.
- The majority of all those who are testing are 25 years or older.
- The number of tested for chlamydia was 368,953 for the whole country.
59 percent of those diagnosed with chlamydia in 2017 were women, and people under 25 years accounted for 66 percent of all cases (73 percent in females and 55 percent in men).
Most cases are diagnosed in the age group 20-24 years – among women (47%) and men (43%).
“Because chlamydia gives symptoms to the fewest, it is not sufficient to have information about the number of diagnosed cases to understand the spread of the infection. The number of patients diagnosed with chlamydia must also be seen in relation to how many people are testing and gender and age distribution among those who are testing, says Hilde Kløvstad, Director of the Department of Public Health.
In summary, the reported incidence of chlamydia increased from the millennium to 2008, after which it has been stable for several years. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of investigations while finding fewer among those being tested.
In related data:
- Recent years of development with increasing incidence of gonorrhea among men who have sex with men continued in 2017, while heterosexual women and men has seen a leveling of cases.
- From the end of the 1990s, the number of syphilis cases among men who have sex with men increased significantly in Norway, and the disease can now be considered endemic in this group. Also among heterosexual women and men, the occurrence of syphilis has increased in recent years.
- Since the number of reported HIV cases reached a peak in 2008 with 299 cases, the number of reported cases has progressively decreased to 213 cases in 2017. The decline has especially occurred among Norwegian-born MSM and heterosexually infected immigrants infected before arrival in Norway. There is still a stable low HIV incidence among people who take drugs with syringes, among Norwegian-born women and among young people.