STD Rates Continue to Rise in the US

CDC researchers say the 2.5 million cases of syphilis gonorrhea and chlamydia reported in 2018 are an all-time high

Almost 2.5 million cases of these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the year.

CDC epidemiologist, Elizabeth Torrone, said, "Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in a year ago alone". According to the CDC, this is a result of decreased condom use among high-risk groups; lack of access or coverage for medical care; decreases in local STD and partner notification services; the asymptomatic nature of some of these infections; and stigma and discrimination.

That means they can also unknowingly transmit it to others.

The number of cases also rose significantly from a decade ago. STDs drive a substantial portion of new HIV transmission, and the STD prevention infrastructure, including public clinics across the U.S., is critical to the success of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative - for delivering testing and prevention services, including access to PrEP.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of newborn babies that died of syphilis increased by 22 percent.

And the syphilis rate rose 15 percent.

Every year, the CDC reports the results of its national STD surveillance.

It's the most ever reported in a year, though the trend is mainly attributed to increased testing. You can't tell if a person is infected just by how they look, sometimes there may be no visible signs. "But the public health experts who advise us consistently refer to an eroding STD prevention infrastructure as a key element in driving STD rates".

Rates of gonorrhea reached their the highest number since 1991, increasing five percent between 2017 and 2018.

On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report revealing a rise of combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis for the fifth consecutive year. STDs can have life-changing and life-threatening consequences, including infertility, cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

"STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations", said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. "Curbing STDs will improve the overall health of the nation and prevent infertility, HIV, and infant deaths". Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor. "It's a smart bug", Torrone noted.

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