Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

3 sexually transmitted diseases hit new highs again in US

3 sexually transmitted diseases hit new highs again in US

Cases of congenital syphilis - or syphilis that's spread from mother to baby during pregnancy - increased 40 percent to more than 1,300 cases.

"We're documenting an increase in STDs for the fifth consecutive year", said Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist with the CDC.

Officials are trying to stay ahead of the curve to prevent cases of congenital syphilis by helping women to seek prenatal care early in pregnancy, and ensuring that doctors are screening for the disease to provide any who are infected with treatment. Congenital syphilis can be fatal to infants: there were 22 stillbirths or neonatal deaths in 2018. STDs drive a substantial portion of new HIV transmission, and the STD prevention infrastructure, including public clinics across the USA, is critical to the success of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative - for delivering testing and prevention services, including access to PrEP.

More than 336,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported past year, as rates of all three STDs continued to increase across the state, the California Department of Public Health reported. Federal funding for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia prevention has also remained far below the level public-health advocates have requested, as my colleague Russell Berman and I reported in 2016.

"STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations", said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

These 3 STDs are treatable through antibiotics, and can have serious consequences if left untreated, including infertility and even death. Together, all of these factors point to roughly the same sentiment: Americans stopped taking STDs seriously.

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"We have an STD crisis in the USA because prevention programs were sold short for years", said David Harvey, executive director of The National Coalition of STD Directors group.

Meanwhile a startling new trend in congenital syphilis has emerged.

Last year, 94 infants died of congenital syphilis, according to the newly-released CDC data, a "startling" increase over 2017's 77 deaths, according to Dr Gail Bolan, director of the agency's Division of STD Prevention.

Chlamydia had the most cases a year ago with 232,181, up 56% over the past decade.

When it comes to gonorrhea, one of the concerns is its ever-increasing resistance to antibiotics.

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