Health News

STD Rates On The Rise Among Americans

Photo from Pixabay

There were over 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia in 2016 among Americans, making it the highest number for sexually transmitted diseases ever reports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said, “Clearly we need to reverse this disturbing trend. The CDC cannot do this alone and we need every community in America to be aware that this risk is out there and help educate their citizens on how to avoid it.”

The CDC’s yearly Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report reveals that over 1.6 million of the new cases were chlamydia, 470,000 were gonorrhea and 28,000 of primary and secondary syphilis. Secondary syphilis is the most contagious of the STDs, and while all of these conditions can be cured by antibiotics, there are many who go undiagnosed and untreated, CNN reports.

Physicians are required by law to report these three STDs to the CDC. When HIV, herpes and other diseases that can be transferred sexually are included, the CDC estimates more than 20 million new cases of all STDs in the US annually. At least half of these happen in people ages 15 to 24.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said,

STDs are out of control with enormous health implications for Americans.

The coalition represents various health departments that work to prevent STDs. “If not treated, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis can have serious consequences, such as infertility, neurological issues, and an increased risk for HIV,” he said.

Bolan and Harvey both stated that funding cuts as a big reason STD rates are climbing. Harvey said, “Several factors are fueling the STD epidemic. Funding cutbacks for prevention, education and healthcare programs, an on-going debate about sex education for young people, with cutbacks in that arena, particularly from this administration, and a rise in social media dating apps have all contributed to the rise.”

Another cause is the lack of symptoms for these conditions, and failure of doctors to inform patients on what to look out for. The CDC has recently published a provider guide and is developing a network of training centers to address the issue.

Bolan said, “We need to get the word out that everyone needs a yearly checkup. And we need to re-educate physicians to look for signs of such ‘ancient’ diseases as syphilis.”

The stigma of STDs does not help, either. Harvey said, “Unfortunately, STDs carry enormous stigma in this country, and it’s hard for people to come forward for treatment.” He added, “Ironically, HIV is an STD, but we have a very visible community who advocates and works to tell stories about the impact of HIV on people’s lives. We don’t have that going for us with gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. We need a network of voices that say it’s OK to get help.”


Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.