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article imageSexually transmitted disease rates in U.S. are the highest ever

By Karen Graham     Oct 20, 2016 in Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released the 2015 report on Sexually transmitted diseases on Wednesday, stating there were more reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases last year than ever before in the United States.
Rates of the "big three" STDs actively tracked by federal health officials, gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia infections, all rose in 2015, with two of the three posting rises in the double digits.
The report shows that primary and secondary syphilis rose by 19 percent, gonorrhea cases rose by 12.8 percent, and chlamydia cases rose by 5.9 percent between 2014 and 2015, figures that indicate health officials are fighting a losing battle in this country.
The really sad part of these statistics is that all three of these diseases are curable with the use of antibiotics, but the CDC says that most of the infections go undiagnosed and untreated.
“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said in a written statement (PDF).
And while over the past few years, it seemed the nation was getting a grip on STDs, with gonorrhea hitting an all-time low in 2009, by 2015, it had seen an increase of 26 percent from that time. And the same goes for syphilis cases that in 2001 had reached an historic low, reports PBS.
The statistics should be alarming for everyone. According to the new report, there are an estimated 20 million new STDs in the U.S. each year, and half of these are among young people ages 15 to 24. Across the U.S., at any given time, there are more than 110 million total (new and existing) infections.
Over two-thirds of the 1.5 million new cases of Chlamydia reported in 2015 were in young people ages 15 to 24. This same age group also accounts for half of the new gonorrhea cases in 2015.
Syphilis seems to be predominate in gay and bisexual men, as it has been for a number of years. But in 2015, there was also an increase in syphilis among women for the first time. The increases among women are of particular concern because congenital syphilis cases tend to increase as the rate of primary and secondary syphilis cases among women increases.
But again, the CDC stresses that their data is based on "reported' cases. Keep in mind that a big portion of STDs go unreported and never treated. This situation we are in now not only impacts on the health of the individual, creating long-term problems that can include infertility, chronic pelvic pain and an increased risk of contracting HIV, but it puts an increased economic burden on the country.
"STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded,” Dr. Mermin said. “We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services — or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”
As a matter of fact, 21 health department STD clinics have closed across the nation because many state and local programs are experiencing budget cuts, said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, according to WTVR Richmond.
“The resurgence of congenital syphilis and the increasing impact of syphilis among gay and bisexual men makes it clear that many Americans are not getting the preventive services they need. Every pregnant woman should be tested for syphilis, and sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested for syphilis at least once a year," Bolen said.
More about Sexually transmitted diseases, std rates, highest ever in US, economic burden, erosion of services
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