Published: Thu, September 28, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

STDs at record high, indicating urgent need for prevention

STDs at record high, indicating urgent need for prevention

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

That's even though each of those diseases is treatable with antibiotics. Approximately 1.6 million of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, according to CDC's annual report on STDs.

The CDC says in 2016, there were more than two million cases of chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphyilis reported.

Those infection can be managed with antibiotics, but can lead to infertility and other problems if left untreated.

However, the new data show that rates of this potentially deadly disease increased nearly 18% between 2015 and 2016, with most of the cases in men who have sex with men.

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STDs are on the rise in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, gonorrhea cases reached 470,000, with a large share of new gonorrhea cases among men who have sex with men.

For now though, Dr. Mermin warned that "STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond". NY ranked fifth-highest in primary and secondary syphilis rate - the most infectious stages of the disease, according to the CDC. Syphilis rates are at levels not seen since 1992 and disproportionately impact Black and Latino gay men.

The CDC attributed the increase to men who have sex with other men.

Growing gonorrhea rates were "particularly alarming", according to the report, since there is a growing risk of the virus becoming resistant to treatment. There were once several antibiotics that could cure the infection, but the bacteria have mutated and now it is harder to treat.

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Most of the cases - 198,503 - in California were cases of chlamydia.

State and local health departments need to refocus on preventing and treating these diseases.

Providers should make STD screening and timely treatment a standard part of medical care, especially for pregnant women and MSM.

Everyone should talk openly about STDs, get tested regularly, and reduce risk by using condoms or practicing mutual monogamy if sexually active. STD services also provide opportunities for further prevention of HIV through testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

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