Health officals are voicing serious concern after it emerged that the U.S. is experiencing a significant spike in sexually transmitted diseases.
As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, 2.4 million cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis combined were recorded in 2018, an all-time high. The data was part of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report which was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. The scale of the problem can be seen by the pace of new infections documented since 2014. Chlamydia went up 19 percent, gonorrhea rose 63 percent, primary and secondary syphilis grew 71 percent while congenital syphilis soared 185 percent.
Numerous factors are being blamed for the increase, particularly funding cuts for local health departments that have caused staff shortages and clinic closures, as well as a decrease in condom usage. Reuters quoted the CDC's directer of STD Prevention, Gail Bohan, who sad that "the resurgence of syphilis, and particularly congenital syphilis, is not an arbitrary event, but rather a symptom of a deteriorating public health infrastructure and lack of access to health care.”
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That is resulting in less people going to get screened despite the fact that antibiotics can cure chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Cases are highest among adolescents and young adults with over half occurring among young people aged between 15 and 24.
The CDC called for urgent action to curb the problem, with the report stating that "it is imperative that federal, state and local programs employ strategies that maximize long-term population impact by reducing STD incidence and promoting sexual, reproductive, maternal, and infant health".