Sexual diseases increase in the U.S.

Sexual diseases increase in the U.S.
Electron micrograph of the syphilis bacterium, Treponema pallidum. (Image: Wikipedia: By Photo credit:Content providers(s): CDC / Dr. David Cox - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #1977. Note: Not all PHIL images are public domain; be sure to check copyright status and credit authors and content providers., Public Domain, Link)

Sexual disease cases rose in 2021, according to a report today from by the Centers for Disease Control.

Combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis rose 6% in 2021, reaching a total of more than 2.53 million reported cases. In 2020, there were about 2.39 million cases.

Syphilis rose at the fastest rate, over 32%. There were 177,000 cases of syphylis in 2021, compared to 134,000 cases of syphylis in 2020. Chlamydia cases rose over 4% in 2021, reaching 1.64 million reported infections; gonorrhea cases also increased about 4%, to 710,000 reported infections.

Sexual diseases are more common in some cultures and demographics. The CDC report notes that STIs “continue to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men and younger people,” as well as Black people and Native Americans.

“This 2021 surveillance report really shows that STIs show no sign of slowing down,” said Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.

Actually, it understates things. It doesn’t tally all sexual diseases, leaving out many sexually-transmitted diseases such as HPV, HIV and trichomonas, a parasite that caused an estimated 2.6 million infections in 2018, according to the CDC. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are “reportable” STIs — meaning providers must report cases to health departments. HIV is also reportable, but for some reason, is covered in a separate report.

“This is really only showing you a very small slice of the pie in terms of what’s going on with STIs in the United States,” Dr. Ina Park, a University of California professor of medicine, said of the CDC report.

“It reflects folks not routinely screening for chlamydia,” said Park. “Chlamydia, especially in women, is almost always asymptomatic.”

The sharp increase in syphilis cases was the most disturbing thing in the report, according to Park.

There are now six times as many syphilis cases as in 2000 — and as many cases as in 1950. Syphilis can be deadly to babies born to mothers with syphilis. Park says ” there’s no reason why a baby should die of congenital syphilis in 2023.”

Experts cite decreasing condom use and a rise in substance abuse as some of the factors resulting in more people having sexual diseases.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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