Background  There is an urgent need for the recognition of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a serious public health problem in Europe. The lack of standardization in testing, along with poor reporting and surveillance mechanisms, have resulted in low reported rates of STIs in many European Union (EU) countries, reinforcing the erroneous assumption that STIs are not a major problem. Testing and diagnosis of STIs must therefore be improved and enhanced.

Recommendations  Reporting of Chlamydia trachomatis infection, gonorrhoea and syphilis should be mandatory, and an integrated surveillance system for C. trachomatis implemented in all European countries. Implementation of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) surveillance mechanisms for STIs in all EU countries is highly recommended. A necessary component for successful introduction of the HPV vaccine, as with any vaccination programme is a well-planned and organized information campaign.