The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares there is a growing STD epidemic in the United States that threatens millions of Americans. Infections from the sexy trio of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached an all-time high with more than 2.4 million cases, according to a 2018 STD Surveillance Report.
The stats revealed that there were over 1.75 million cases of chlamydia last year – the most ever reported to the CDC. A total of 583,405 gonorrhea cases were recorded, a 63% rise since 2014 and the highest number reported in 28 years. More than 35,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis – the two most infectious stages – upped 14% since 2017 and the most reported since 1991.
Antibiotic medications can be prescribed to cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, but the diseases must be caught early and treated as soon as possible. The CDC warned that many cases of these STDs “continue to go undiagnosed and unreported,” which means the 2018 report only showed a fraction of the US’s escalating STD rates.
More dangerously, some STDs are becoming resistant to some antibiotics that were previously used for treatment. For example, over the years gnorrhea has become resistant to nearly every antibiotics used against it. CDC states Tuesday that Ceftriaxone (Rocephin) is now the only antibiotic still has high effectiveness against gonorrhea in the US.
The increase in cases of congenital syphilis is also alarming – passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy. The agency says the 40% increase in congenital syphilis from 2017 to 2018 is a dangerous trend, and that syphilis in newborns is a tragic consequence of a growing STD epidemic – newborn deaths from syphilis rose 22%, from 77 deaths in 2017 to 94 deaths in 2018.
Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana are the five states that accounted for 70% of all congenital syphilis cases last year.
Health officials suggest that it is crucial for pregnant women to be tested. Without early detection and regular prenatal care, a pregnant woman may unknowingly put her unborn child at risk. When untreated, there is up to an 80% chance that syphilis will be passed onto the infant. Congenital syphilis can cause lifelong complications in the baby’s health, with some cases ending with newborn death.
Director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, Gail Bolan, MD, wrote in a statement, “There are tools available to prevent every case of congenital syphilis. Testing is simple and can help women to protect their babies from syphilis – a preventable disease that can have irreversible consequences.”
The CDC added that some of the possible explanations for the growing STD epidemic are: Lack of condom use among sexually active people, drug use and poverty, and limited resources due to STD programs being cut and clinic closures both statewide and locally.
The US Department of Health and Human Services is planning on releasing a Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Federal Action Plan in 2020.