CDC: STD Cases Reach All-Time High in U.S.

More than half of state and local STD programs have had budget cuts in recent years
More than half of state and local STD programs have had budget cuts in recent years

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases reached record high levels in 2015, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A total of 1,526,658 cases of Chlamydia; 395,216 cases of gonorrhea; and nearly 23,872 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis, were reported, representing a 5.9%, 12.8%, and 19% increase from the 2014 figures, respectively.

“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STD [sexually transmitted diseases] rates are rising, and many of the country's systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.” 

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More than half of state and local STD programs have had budget cuts in recent years, with 20 health department STD clinics closing in one year alone. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all curable with antibiotics.

The CDC reported that two-thirds of chlamydia and half of gonorrhea diagnoses occurred in Americans aged 15–24 years. Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for the majority of new gonorrhea and P&S syphilis cases, of which 82% of male cases had gender of sex partner known. The rate of syphilis diagnosis in women increased by >27% between 2014 and 2015, with congenital syphilis increasing by 6%.

The CDC estimated that STD cases cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $16 billion each year. The CDC emphasize the following steps in response to the STD epidemic:

  • Providers: make STD screening a standard part of medical care, especially in pregnant women. Integrate STD prevention and treatment into prenatal care and other routine visits.
  • Public: talk openly about STDs, get tested regularly, and reduce risk by using condoms or practicing mutual monogamy if sexually active.
  • Parents and providers: offer young people safe, effective ways to access needed information and services.
  • State and local health departments: continue to direct resources to people hardest hit by the STD epidemic and work with community partners to maximize their impact.

For more information visit CDC.gov

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