Sexually transmitted diseases increase for fourth straight year — CDC

Sexually transmitted diseases increase for fourth straight year — CDC

Sexually transmitted diseases increase for fourth straight year — CDC

The number of Americans with common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) has jumped to record levels, according to new research.

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD with nearly 1.7 million cases in 2017, up from just over 1.4 million in 2013. STDs affect individuals of all ages, but most of the new cases each year occur in 15 to 24-year-olds.

The total surpassed the previous record in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases and marked a larger trend of "sharp increases" in these STDs since 2013.

"We are sliding backward", said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

Gail Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC, called the rise "very concerning".

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) made up nearly 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases where the gender of the sex partner is known in 2017. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea also deeply concerns officials, who fear a time when this STD no longer becomes treatable with current methods.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said the rise is due to stagnant federal funding for prevention efforts, a lack of screening and a decrease in condom use.

All three STDs can be treated with antibiotics, however the CDC noted most cases go undiagnosed and untreated, leading to health problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.

Gonorrhea cases increased 67 percent, rising from 333,004 to 555,608 diagnoses.

But many of popular dating apps have been hesitant to support sexual health, according to Jeffrey Klausner, a University of California, Los Angeles STD researcher.

The two-drug combination has yet to fail, but the CDC found resistance to azithromycin has increased from 1 percent in 2013 to more than 4 percent in 2017.

"If we're not teaching people how to keep themselves safe from sexually transmitted infections early, then we start to see these surges and increases in those rates", Rauch said.

Experts are anxious that azithromycin-resistant genes in some gonorrhea strains could cross over into gonorrhea that is not as susceptible to ceftriaxone.

Bolan cited another troubling statistic about the looming threat of antibiotic resistance regarding gonorrhea treatment.

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