Changing sexual behaviors and downright dumbness have contributed to a fourth straight year of a soaring rate of sexually-transmitted diseases across the United States.
New cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia spiked another 10 percent last year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.
New cases diagnosed alone in 2017 totaled 2.29 million for these three diseases, a national record. They are all easily detected and treatable and prevented with condom use.
CDC officials called the enduring eruption of STD infections a “steep, sustained increase” that began in 2013.
“We’re sliding backward,” said Jonathan Mermin of CDC. “It’s evident the systems that identify, treat and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”
Diagnoses of gonorrhea jumped 67 percent since 2013 and 19 percent during the last year, the CDC said. They cited lax screening procedures by too many medical professionals.
Primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses have climbed 76 percent. Chlamydia remained the CDC’s most commonly reported STD with almost half of all new cases being found in females ages 15 to 24.
The diseases are easily treatable and, obviously, the sooner they’re detected the better. But many cases go undetected because patients do not ask for and doctors do not always offer screening.
CDC officials worry now the diseases will soon mutate to overcome existing antibiotics. Already, gonorrhea is resistant to all antibiotics except ceftriaxone.
Without proper treatment, these diseases can cause infertility, pregnancy complications, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancies and greater risk of HIV transmission.
Gail Bolan, who is director of the CDC Division of STD Prevention, said:
We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed. We can’t let our defenses down. We must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.
They said with improved management of HIV, too many people have stopped using condoms. And called on state and local health officials to aggressively drive home the need to use protection during sex.
.”You don’t need a medical degree to prevent an STD,” said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “You need to talk to people about using condoms.”