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STD Increases Nationally Raise Concerns

A record number of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2017.

Nearly 2.3 million cases of those STDs were diagnosed last year, the preliminary CDC data shows.

This marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in these sexually transmitted diseases, the CDC reports.

Increase in STDs

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

Primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent from 17,375 to 30,644 cases.

Chlamydia remained the most common condition reported to CDC. Of the more than 1.7 million cases diagnosed in 2017, 45 percent were among 15- to 24-year-old females.

“We are sliding backward,” said Jonathan Mermin, with the CDC. “It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”

Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are curable with antibiotics, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated — which can lead to severe adverse health effects that include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants and increased HIV risk.

Resistant to Antibiotics

Over the years, gonorrhea has become resistant to nearly every class of antibiotics used to treat it, except to ceftriaxone.

“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “We can’t let our defenses down — we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.”

Health care providers are encouraged to make STD screening and timely treatment a standard part of medical care.

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