According to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control, Americans are in the middle of a sexually transmitted disease epidemic. For a fourth consecutive year, STD rates have continued a “steep and sustained increase” with over 2.3 million documented cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
Increasing STD Rates
Gonorrhea rates nearly doubled in men, from 333,004 to 555,608 cases within a four year time period. Syphilis is also on the rise, particularly affecting gay and bisexual men. Since 2013, there has been an overall increase of 70% in diagnosed cases. The most common condition, though, was chlamydia, which affected over 1.7 million Americans in 2017.
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 28, 2018
Fear of a Biological Resistance
Michael Fraser, CEO of ASHTO, told USA Today: “You don’t need a medical degree to prevent an STD. You need to talk to people about using condoms.” Gonorrhea, especially, worries members of the health community. Over time, the disease has progressively built a resistance to modern antibiotics.
“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “We can’t let our defenses down — we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.”
Source: Centers for Disease Control
NCSD executive director David Harvey took a strong stance in light of the new data. He adamantly asserted that the increase in STD rates is due to poor federal funding and sex education. Moreover, he was blunt in his dire assessment of the staggering growth of infections:
“It’s not a coincidence STDs are skyrocketing – state and local STD programs are working with effectively half the budget they had in the early 2000s. If our representatives are serious about protecting American lives, they will provide adequate funding to address this crisis. Right now, our STD prevention engine is running on fumes.”
What Can Everyone Do?
These record high rates should serve as a warning to any sexually active citizen. First and foremost, they need to take matters of sexual health into their own hands. It is important to communicate with your partner(s) regarding sexual history. It is also essential to take protective action, such as wearing condoms and frequently testing for STDs. For more information about sexually transmitted diseases and how to get tested, please visit Planned Parenthood’s site or your local physician.
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