The CDC’s annual STD surveillance report shows that reported cases of chlamydia rose by 6 percent, reported cases of gonorrhea rose more than 12 percent, and reported cases of syphilis rose by more than 19 percent. All three can be treated with antibiotics, but most cases go undiagnosed and untreated. However, CDC officials say the most disturbing finding is that congenital syphilis is also on the rise. Congenital Syphilis is when a pregnant woman transmits the infection to her baby.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, STD and TB prevention, called this a decisive moment for the country in a written statement.
“STD rates are rising and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded,” he said. “We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services — or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”
The CDC estimates that nearly 10 million new STD cases ever year are from people between the ages of 15 and 24, putting young people at high risk for infection and transmission. The CDC also says that gay and bisexual men are also at a higher risk than the general population.
Dr. Gail Bolen, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, says that the study’s findings make it clear that Americans are not getting much-needed preventive services.
“To reverse the STD epidemic, we should all learn to tlak more openly about STDs — with our partners, parents and providers,” she said.
However, doing so might be easier said than done. Bolan wrote in the report’s forward that at least 21 STD clinics at health departments across the US have closed due to government budget cuts at the state and local levels, limiting access to testing and treatment for many people.