Sexually transmitted diseases are in crisis in America. On Monday, leading public health experts and government officials raised concerns over the ongoing annual rise in STDs. Preliminary data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia rose in the past year.
CDC and the National Coalition of STD Directors Are This Week hosting His regular STD prevention conference, which takes place every two years and this year is virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But while the conference aims to highlight promising technological advances and initiatives, speakers have been quick to point out that the current status quo is dire.
“It is imperative that we… work to rebuild, innovate and expand [STD] Prevention in America,” said Leandro Mena, director of the CDC’s STD prevention division, in his speech Monday, according to the Associated Press. Reporting, In another speech, David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, called the problem “out of control.”
Earlier this month, CDC free Preliminary 2021 figures from its ongoing STD surveillance data. At least 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the US during 2021, the three major STDs that doctors and local health departments are obliged to track and report (other serious STDs such as HIV or hepatitis B are tracked). goes) ok, but the analysis of their numbers isjade and informed of elsewhere). The number of these cases is underestimated, as not all infections cause symptoms and many people do not get tested regularly for STDs.
Chlamydia instances in 2021 (about 1.63 million cases) were slightly below their high in 2019 but higher than the 2020 total, and cases of gonorrhea and syphilis continued to rise year-over-year. In 2021, 696,764 cases of gonorrhea were reported, as well as 171,074 cases of syphilis. The rate and cases of congenital syphilis from mother to child in the womb have also increased, with 2,677 cases in 2021. These infections, which are completely preventable with timely antibiotics, can lead to life-threatening complications. at least 139 newborn babies Died of syphilis in 2020.
Gonorrhea has its own set of unique challenges. Though infections often don’t cause illness and are very rarely life-threatening, the bacteria that cause gonorrhea are Rapidly gaining resistance for some of the frontline antibiotics available to treat them. And without effective medications, cases of gonorrhea will often lead to serious complications such as infertility or blindness in newborns who contract the infection in the womb.
If all this isn’t bad enough, 2022 has also seen a widespread global rise of human monkeypox. Although the viral disease can be spread to others through any form of prolonged contact, the current epidemic is mainly spread through contact during sex, most often among men who have had multiple recent partners. have sex. Monkeypox’s future is uncertain, but many experts fear it will be new regularly occurring STDs, Although can be managed with an effective vaccine and antiviral treatment.
In her speech, Mena argued that there are still steps that can be taken to reduce the incidence of STDs. These include reducing the stigma associated with STDs, educating and reassuring people to adopt safer sex practices such as condoms, and making it easier and cheaper for people to get tested. An important way to improve testing, he said, would be the development of at-home tests, which are now widely available for COVID-19 or pregnancy.
“I envision a day where testing is being done [for STDs] It can be as easy and cheap as doing a home pregnancy test,” he said.