STDs Continue To Increase In America To A Record High

This 1975 file microscope image made available by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows chlamydia trachomatis bacteria magnified 200 times

This 1975 file microscope image made available by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows chlamydia trachomatis bacteria magnified 200 times

Cases of congenital syphilis increased 40 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to the CDC report, and deaths associated with congenital syphilis increased 22 percent.

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

Alaska ranked highest per capita among states for chlamydia - something it has done since tracking began in 1996 - and second for gonorrhea. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported - also the most since 1991.

Health officials encourage people to protect themselves from STDs by using condoms, getting tested, and practicing other safe sex principles.

Pregnant women with syphilis can pass the infection to the fetus they're carrying. Officials suggest that a combination of factors may be linked to the increase including social factors that can affect access to healthcare like shame, stigma, drug use, poverty, unstable housing, feelings of invincibility, lack of knowledge, risky sexual behavior, and slashed funding for STD programs across the nation. Add to that recent cuts to state and local STD programs, resulting in clinic closures and less screening and patient follow-up. You can't tell if a person is infected just by how they look, sometimes there may be no visible signs.

The trends in California echoed a report released Tuesday by the CDC, which said combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis in the USA had risen for the fifth consecutive year. Untreated, these diseases can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.

"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.

Local health departments play a crucial role in preventing the spread of STDs.

Antibiotics can cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

However, all three STDs are curable with antibiotics, provided they are detected. "Achieving our goal of ending HIV will require a paradigm shift in how we operate - one that includes STD prevention and care and broader sexual health promotion", says Harvey. "There's a lot of assumptions that these are adults and they should be making better choices, and if they did, there wouldn't be the spread of STDs", Casalotti says. "But women can also ask questions to be sure".

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