Sexually transmitted diseases, generally referred to as the STDs, are at a record high rate in the U.S. today for the fourth year in a row. This report is based on new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Altogether, there have been more than 2.3 million cases of syphilis, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea that were diagnosed in the United States in the year 2017. That makes 200,000 more cases to what was diagnosed in 2016 – another year that had a record- high levels of STD cases in the U.S. according to the CDC.
The officials at the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention are highly concerned about this steep and much more sustained increase in the number of STD cases. There has been an ebb and flow of sexually transmitted diseases in the last few decades, but now they have reached a record level in the last two decades.
Increase In Chlamydia Cases
Chlamydia has been marked as the most common STD in the United States with more than 1.7 million cases being diagnosed in the last 2 years. However, the increase in syphilis cases has also been quite dramatic. The records have risen by 76 percent, which makes it about 17,400 cases than having 30,600 cases since 2013. This is primarily because the transmission methods are changing to a great extent.
Syphilis Cases Have Also Increased In Number
In the last few years, syphilis cases showed up mostly in men who had sex with men. On the other hand, in more recent years, syphilis cases have increased in women and even heterosexuals as well. Nonetheless, 70 percent of syphilis cases in 2017 were still diagnosed among men who had men as their sexual partners. The fact is that many people out there today are unaware of these STDs and their high prevalence. Therefore, it is imperative for the STD Prevention units to expand their outreach and educate to ensure more and more people are getting proper screening, treatment, and prevention measures.
Gonorrhea Has Also Grown!
Gonorrhea cases have also increased by 67 percent – that is from about 33,000 cases to more than 555,600 cases since 2013. With the passage of time, gonorrhea has now grown into a Super STD and there is an increasing threat of drug-resistant strains of this STI.
Super Gonorrhea means that when medication is used to treat the infection, the bacteria figure out means to bypass the antibiotic. Doctors have come to the last known effective antibiotic that could treat gonorrhea. It is just a matter of time before the STD outsmarts!
The prediction underscores the significance of developing new and effective antibiotics along with novel treatment options, such as vaccines. Although there have been no signs of Chlamydia and syphilis being drug resistant, they are being actively monitored. Any virus or bacteria may go drug-resistant, which increases the concern!
On the other hand, there has been more emphasis on the importance of any sexually active individual to get screened for STDs. Moreover, they should be practicing safe sex by using condoms. However, young women should be vigilant, as 45 percent of Chlamydia cases that were diagnosed in women aged from 15 to 24 in the year 2017. That‘s in part as young women are biologically prone to catching the infection since Chlamydia inclines toward a certain type of cell that sits outside of a women’s cervixes. These cells move inside the cervix as the woman age, making them develop immunity over time too. Women generally have a lot to lose here. This is because STDs in women can lead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and pregnancy complications.
More comprehensive community outreach and education along with robust screening and treatment practices can greatly help bring the number down. It is imperative for the doctors to take detailed sexual histories of their patients, and screen for STDs using more rigorous techniques than simply relying on the urine tests. This approach may help get STD rates under control. However, the issue is a lot more complicated, as certain socioeconomic groups and communities are more susceptible to STDs than others, and other public health issues like the opioid epidemic and substance use, which may compound the issue.
STD Rates in The U.S. Continue To Grow!
CDC reports show that STDs have reached highest-levels in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row. The rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are higher than ever today! But, it is vital to learn why they are on the rise and how can you protect yourself from this growing health crisis?
The point to ponder is, what made things go worse? Why have STDs gotten out of control? And what can be done to protect yourself in this health emergency?
Why Are STDs On The Rise?
There are several different aspects that have health professionals sweating over the rise in sexually transmitted diseases.
- No Government Funding
With the STD numbers going up rapidly, there are more threats to women’s health care than ever before. A year ago, Trump administration had cut more than 200 million USD in the federal reproductive care funding. This activity jeopardized numerous programs that actually helped screen for and treat sexually transmitted diseases. As a result, people do not have proper places for STD screening, or even if they do, they lack access to thorough screening and timely treatment.
- Insurance Cover
Insurance cover is another major aspect of whether an individual gets tested for STD or not. Some women prefer to get screened for STDs, but they are just scared of the unknown costs that they either do not go or turn down screening, even if they have new partners.
Many patients have been billed for out-of-pocket costs for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea screening because it is not considered as a part of preventative screening anymore.
Even if you do not show any symptoms, STD may cause serious damage to different organs, if left untreated. It could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease – an infection that occurs when STD spreads from the vagina affecting the reproductive organs. A woman may not know that she has PID right away. However, it can lead to chronic pelvic pain and even infertility.
All of this is compounded by the fact that people are just not making proper use of condoms. According to report by Casey Copen, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, only 24 percent of women use a condom during their last sexual activity and only 18 percent state that they have used one every time they have had sex. Remember the fact that condoms are one of the most effective means to prevent STDs transmission if you are having anal, vaginal or oral sex.
There has been a safe sex red flag for women who prefer using another form of birth control. This has made the use of condoms lower as women have opted for methods like IUD or pill to prevent pregnancy. This a major concern, since the pill and IUDs, both are amazing and quite effective at preventing pregnancy compared to condoms, however, do not protect against STIs. It is imperative for people to learn that if they prefer to have safe sex, they need to prevent pregnancy, but they also should prevent contracting STDs.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Contracting STDs?
The best part of treating STDs is that syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia is all quite easy to detect, and all these STDs are still curable. Other than using condoms during sex, one other thing you can do to protect yourself is to get screened for STDs regularly, which should be at least once a year. It does not matter if you are in a monogamous relationship – you must still get yourself tested for STDs!
The recent guidelines from CDC do not recommend getting screened yearly unless you are under 25 or have specific risk factors, but both doctors disagree with this and are very much in favor of yearly STD screening.
If you do not get detailed screening, you would never get to know if you or your partner has STDs with no symptoms showing up ever. In the view that STDs are on a rise, proper screening should take on the utmost significance to ensure early diagnoses and timely treatment.
On top of regular STD screenings, it is imperative to get yourself tested after every new partner. That is before you establish a sexual relationship with anyone, you should ask your partner(s) to get tested for HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, trichomonas, syphilis, and genital herpes as well. This would ensure that the person you plan on having sexual activity is hygienic enough and does not pose any threats to your health.
What If You Contract An STD?
Last but not least, if you contract an STD, do not panic at all! Make sure you get it treated immediately and follow up with your physician to ensure you are completely cured before you find yourself a new partner(s) or want to resume sexual activity with the last one. Make sure to follow the instructions, and you surely be able to keep away from STDs.