Rates of sexually transmitted diseases reached a record high in 2016, according to just released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with experts saying the dramatic increases are due to cuts in sexual education, prevention measures and interventions by physicians.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
The latest report highlights that instances of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have continued to increase since 2013 and among the different groups affected, youth ages 15 to 24 make up the highest number of infected individuals — with high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea and increasing rates of syphilis — and men who have sex with men the most likely to have an STD or contract HIV.
There were over 1.59 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016 (an increase of 4.7 percent since 2015); 468,514 new cases of gonorrhea (an increase of 18.5%) and 27,814 cases of syphilis (an increase of 17.6%).
Many people report having no symptoms when diagnosed with an STD which makes routine testing important to catch the disease early and provide treatment.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD among women, the CDC notes, putting women at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease resulting in chronic pelvic pain, infertility and is potentially life threatening.
“Several factors are fueling the STD epidemic,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told CNN. “Funding cutbacks for prevention, education and healthcare programs, an on-going debate about sex education for young people, with cutbacks in that arena, particularly from this administration, and a rise in social media dating apps have all contributed to the rise.”
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