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Sexually transmitted diseases hit record high in US for fourth year in row

Sexually transmitted diseases hit record high in US for fourth year in row

Condoms can help prevent the spread of chlamydia, gonorrhea and other STDs

The Center for Disease Control in the US has revealed that there were 2.3million reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the country in 2017. The CDC releases preliminary figures yesterday at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington. The 2.3million figures covers chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Chlamydia was by far the most common infection, accounting for 1.7million cases.

In a press statement, the CDC reported ‘steep, sustained increases’ in the three infections between 2013 and 2017.

Gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67% overall and nearly doubled among men.

Primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent, with gay and bisexual men accounting for 70% of cases.

‘We are sliding backward,’ said Dr Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

‘It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.’

Rise in antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea

The rise in gonorrhea is particularly concerning due to the bacteria’s growing resistance to antibiotics. Currently, the last remaining antibiotic used to treat the infection in the US is ceftriaxone. However, experts predict that ceftriaxone-resistant gonorrhea will become more prevalent.

‘We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,’ said Dr Gail Bolan, 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.’

‘Our STD prevention engine is running on fumes’

The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) says the rise in STDs is due to cuts in federal resources.

‘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,’ says David C. Harvey, executive director of NCSD in a statement.

‘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.

‘STDs have real health consequences – yes, they are often treatable, but they are by no means trivial. Investing in STD prevention is a win-win. These are time-tested, highly cost-effective interventions that save lives and money.’

All sexually active gay and bisexual men are advised to have a sexual health check-up at least once a year, even if they have no symptoms. If they have sex with several different partners, getting a STD screening every 3-6 months is recommended.

See also

Why you can’t put rising rates of gonorrhea and syphilis just down to PrEP

Syphilis: what is it and why should gay men be concerned?