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CDC Reports ‘Alarming’ Rise In STDs

Couple Holding Hands

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the United States, with some rising at what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports to be “alarming” rates.

According to the CDC’s 2014 STD Surveillance Report, the reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have all risen for the first time in eight years – since 2006.

In the case of chlamydia, the reported infection rate in the U.S. rose 2.8 percent from 2013 to 2014, raising the rate to 456.1 cases per 100,000.

Gonorrhea rose 5.1 percent during the same time frame, bringing the rate of infection to 110.7 per 100,000.

As for cases of primary and secondary syphilis, the stages in which the disease is most apt to spread, the CDC reports a 15.1 percent rise over 2013 – raising the rate to 6.3 per 100,000.

The CDC estimates the annual number of new STD infections in the U.S. to be just under 20 million, the majority of which being accounted for by young people between 15 and 24-years-old.

As STD gonorrhea and chlamydia infections often lack symptoms, their infections often go undiagnosed, which can lead to lifelong repercussions such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease in women, according to Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.

The consequences of STDs are especially severe for young people (…) Because chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms, many infections go undiagnosed and this can lead to lifelong repercussions for a woman’s reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

Jonathan Mermin, M.D., with the CDC referred to the “worsening STD epidemic” in the United States as “a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention” in a recent statement.

Dr. Mermin, who is the director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, also noted in his statement that while sexually transmitted diseases do “affect people in all walks of life,” the data suggests “an increasing burden among gay and bisexual men.”

America’s worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention (…) STDs affect people in all walks of life, particularly young women and men, but these data suggest an increasing burden among gay and bisexual men.

According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men presently face a variety of risk factors — including individual, social and epidemiologic variables — that can contribute to higher STD infection rates. In an attempt to better identify and address the specific challenges that gay and bisexual men face, the CDC reports to be “concentrating” their research efforts while “developing educational resources for providers” and “improving” their culturally relevant care efforts.

The CDC offers Americans a number of strategies aimed at reducing the risk of infection and consequences to health. These strategies range from consistent and proper condom use to testing, treatment and limiting of sex partners — all of which, according to the CDC, are “effective strategies” in the fight against STDs.

Earlier this year, researchers at Columbia University unveiled a $34 smartphone device capable of testing for HIV and syphilis in just a matter of minutes.

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