Rising STD Rates in U.S. Signal 'Public Health Crisis'

Rising STD Rates in U.S. Signal 'Public Health Crisis'

That year saw almost 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Females between the ages of 15 and 24 made up 45 percent of the cases. In 2016, we saw roughly 200,000 fewer cases compared to 2017, and back in 2013, the number was 600,000 less than 2017's figure.

"It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point".

"We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed", Gail Bolan, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention, said.

Syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent, from 17,375 cases to 30,664 cases. This featured a doubling of cases among men, but the CDC explains that "increases in diagnoses among women - and the speed with which they are increasing - are also concerning", adding that this is the third consecutive year that cases have risen.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said the rise is due to stagnant federal funding for prevention efforts, a lack of screening and a decrease in condom use.

Health officials have issued stark warnings as data reveals that sexually transmitted infections are soaring in the US. That's up from 1 percent in 2013. Reported cases of three well-known STDs all increased between 2016 and 2017.

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"If we're not teaching people how to keep themselves safe from sexually transmitted infections early, then we start to see these surges and increases in those rates", Rauch said.

If untreated, these diseases can affect a couple's ability to get pregnant, cause ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth, promote chronic pain in the pelvis or abdomen, and increase a person's risk of contracting or transmitting HIV, the CDC noted.

But Bolan reported that a "small, but growing fraction" of lab specimens of gonorrhea are showing "signs of antibiotic resistance".

When diagnosed, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable with antibiotics.

"The field desperately needs new resources", he said.

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