On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials published a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report, which stated that the United States has been facing a record-breaking surge in STDs.
The report found that the cases of sexually transmitted infections – such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia – have increased in the nation for the fifth straight year.
CDC Epidemiologist Elizabeth Torrone, who was part of the report, said, “Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in last year alone.” She explained that the cases have reached an all-time high in the United States.
This kind of surge in STDs could increase the risk of complications, such as infertility, drug-resistant gonorrhea, and even congenital syphilis that can cause infant death.
The health officials noted that the shocking surge has come after gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia cases declined for several years.
The Director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention Dr. Gail Bolan wrote, “Yet not that long ago, gonorrhea rates were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and we were able to point to advances in STD prevention.”
“That progress has since unraveled. The number of reported syphilis cases is climbing after being largely on the decline since 1941, and gonorrhea rates are now increasing,” added Dr. Bolan. “Many young women continue to have undiagnosed chlamydia infections, putting them at risk for infertility.”
The investigators found that most reported cases of STDs were found in adolescents and young adults.
One of the potential factors responsible for the rise in STDs was an increase in people getting tested and diagnosed. Also, the number of people using condoms has declined.
The officials monitored four STDs – gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and chancroid – across the nation. They found that chlamydia surged in Alaska, gonorrhea in Mississippi, and syphilis in Nevada, with more number of STD cases in the District of Columbia.
However, there have been a few limitations of the new report. The data included only STD cases that were reported to the agency.
Torrone said, “In order for a case to be represented in the report, the infection actually needs to be diagnosed and reported.” “We know that there are many more infections that occur that just are not getting diagnosed and treated,” she added. “The intervention that we need is really to be able to increase access to routine screening as well as quality prevention.”