STD cases reach all-time high in U.S.

(CNN) Health officials are raising alarm about a rise in STDs across the United States.

For the fifth consecutive year, combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have risen in the United States, according to a Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on Tuesday.
“Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in last year alone,” said Elizabeth Torrone, a CDC epidemiologist who worked on the new report, adding that the combined number marks “the most cases” ever recorded since monitoring began in the United States.
A rise in the prevalence and incidence of STDs can come with serious public health consequences and concerns, including infertility, drug-resistant gonorrhea and congenital syphilis, which can cause infant death.
“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,” Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, wrote in the new report’s foreword.
“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.
“Many young women continue to have undiagnosed chlamydial infections, putting them at risk for infertility.”
Possible factors driving this rise in STD cases, which vary depending on where you live, include a surge in people getting tested and cases being diagnosed and reported. There’s also a decline in people using condoms.
The new report found that rates of reported cases tended to be highest among adolescents and young adults.
The new CDC report calls for federal, state and local agencies to employ strategies that reduce STD incidence and help to improve sexual, reproductive, maternal and infant health.
“STDs cause a significant burden to the health care system — both in terms of direct medical costs for treating STDs as well as the personal cost for people who have an STD,” Torrone said.
Torrone said, “As the STD epidemic continues to grow in the United States, the direct medical costs and the quality of life lost will just increase as well.”
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