According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, nearly 2.3 million sexually transmitted diseases (STD) cases were diagnosed in the country in 2017. This is by far the highest the country has ever faced, says the agency. The numbers were 200,000 in 2016 they add.
The CDC in a series of tweets has written, “NEW CDC analysis of #STD data from 2013-2017: #Gonorrhea increased 67%, #syphilis nearly doubled, and #chlamydia remained extremely common #STDConf18.” “Nearly 2.3 MILLION cases of #chlamydia, #gonorrhea & #syphilis diagnosed in US in 2017 – You heard it first from #STDConf18 --> ,” they added. In yet another tweet they write, “We are in the midst of an absolute #STD public health crisis in the United States.”
This year, they have said in the report, there have been some 2.29 million new cases of three treatable and common STDs. These are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis which were up by around 10 percent in 2017 since 2016. Over the past four years since 2013, the incidences of STDs have been on the rise.
The report released yesterday shows that cases of syphilis has risen by 10 percent in 2017 from 2016 and similarly gonorrhoea cases have risen by 19 percent and Chlamydia cases by 7 percent. These three infections are treatable and are quite easily preventable. Unless they are treated on time, these infections may lead to, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, complications during pregnancy and child birth and also raise the risk of HIV transmission.
According to CDC officials the basis for this alarming rise in STDs is changes in sexual behaviour trends and also lack of health awareness regarding protective sexual intercourse. Health experts have also blamed the paucity of federal funding under the new administration for sexually transmitted disease prevention. The number of cases has been on the rise since 2013 but the federal budgets towards prevention and treatment of STDs has remained same since 2013. This has reduced the resources that health departments have at their disposal.
David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors in a statement at the STD Conference said, “There is a shocking increase in STDs in America. We think there is a direct correlation between the increase in the number of STDs and the lack of federal funding increases.” He called on the Trump administration to declare the rise of STDs as a public health emergency and called for more public health infrastructure and funding to fight the menace. He said in a statement, “It is time that President Trump and [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Alex] Azar declare STDs in America a public health crisis. What goes along with that is emergency access to public health funding to make a dent in STD rates and to bring these rates down and make sure all Americans get access to the health care they need.”
Jonathan Mermin, the director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement to the press, “We are sliding backward. It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.” At present Harvey has called for at least $70 million immediately from the federal funds and an additional $270 million in 2019 to fight the rising rates of STDs.
The CDC says that screening for STDs is a useful tool. The CDC added in a written statement, “Most cases go undiagnosed and untreated. This can lead to severe adverse health effects.”