Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Three STDs Reach All-Time Highs in the U.S., CDC Report Says

Chlamydia Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria Dr. E. Arum Dr. N. Jacobs CDC via AP
Anna Jefferson | 09 October, 2019, 13:59

· $40 million over four years to enhance the capacity of local health departments to identify, monitor and respond to communicable diseases.

"We're documenting an increase in STDs for the fifth consecutive year", said Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist with the CDC. Five states-Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana-accounted for 70 percent of congenital syphilis cases. These steep increases in STDs are largely due to federal, state, and local funding cutbacks resulting in a public health infrastructure that is ill-equipped to handle this growing public health threat.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of newborn babies that died of syphilis increased by 22 percent.

The rate of infection climbed steadily between 2014 and 2018, resulting in a 71% jump in the number of syphilis cases, a 63% increase in gonorrhea and a 19% rise in chlamydia during that period.

The trends in California echoed a report released Tuesday by the CDC, which said combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis in the us had risen for the fifth consecutive year.

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The CDC officials say that transmissions of syphilis, as well as other STIs, is driven by impoverished areas and low condom use among young people and men who are gay or bisexual.

Alaska ranked highest per capita among states for chlamydia - something it has done since tracking began in 1996 - and second for gonorrhea. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it".

Pregnant women with syphilis can pass the infection to the fetus they're carrying. STDs can have life-changing and life-threatening consequences, including infertility, cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

According to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, "STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations".

When it comes to gonorrhea, one of the concerns is its ever-increasing resistance to antibiotics. Right now, the only recommended treatment is a shot of the antibiotic ceftriaxone, plus the oral antibiotic azithromycin. "Achieving our goal of ending HIV will require a paradigm shift in how we operate - one that includes STD prevention and care and broader sexual health promotion", says Harvey. "Hopefully, they are", she said. "But women can also ask questions to be sure".

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