The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cases of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea have reached a record high, and women have more cause for concern than men.
According to the CDC’s recent STD surveillance release, the U.S. has seen a sharp increase in the number of STD cases from 2013 to 2017, salient numbers that underscore a 76 percent increase in syphilis, 1.7 million cases of chlamydia in 2017 alone (with almost half of these cases affecting women ages 15-24), and a 67 percent increase in gonorrhea—which is becoming increasingly immune to current antibiotic treatments.
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Recent lab tests performed by the CDC reveal startling findings about gonorrhea’s adaptivity: a growing number of samples are showing early signs of “emerging antibiotic resistance,” meaning the STD is becoming increasingly less treatable by antibiotics currently on the market. As the number of gonorrhea samples proven to be immune to antibiotics continues to steadily increase, the STD is projected to eventually outlive our last effective antibiotic, ceftriaxone.
In 2017, gonorrhea cases rose to affect 232,587 women. When left untreated, the disease can cause infertility, pregnancy complications, stillbirths, and increased susceptibility to HIV.
As for the catalyst behind the growing number of STD’s, David Harvey—executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors—cites skimpy federal funding for prevention efforts, infrequent screenings, and a lack of condom use, per Bloomberg.
Jonathan Mermin, director of the agency’s national STD center, said in a statement that,“We are sliding backward…It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”
Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are expected to continue to rise throughout 2018, with women being more likely to experience health complications due to STDs.