CDC Reports American STD Rates Are Reaching Record Highs

ola olugbemi | September 27, 2017

Brace yourself. 

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study showing that new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia in America reached record high numbers in 2016.

In fact, the CDC reported over 2 million new STD cases, including about 1.6 million diagnoses of chlamydia, 470,000 gonorrhea cases, and 28,000 cases of syphilis. While all three diseases can be cured using antibiotics, many people go undiagnosed and without treatment. 

Reuters quoted Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention, as saying that such a large growth in STDs reflects an increasing threat that exceeds the Center's ability to respond.

Merlin's colleague, Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC's Division of STD prevention, reiterated this sentiment, adding that the CDC needs help from all American communities to educate citizens on how to avoid STDs.

The resurgence of syphilis further complicates matters as the disease was once thought to be eliminated in the United States. New cases of syphilis increased by 18 percent between 2015 and 2016, with 80.6 percent of all cases occurring in homosexual men. New cases among women increased 36 percent, as well as 26 percent among newborns.

The rise in syphilis found among newborn babies presents a particularly tragic case due to the ease and simplicity of STD checks and antibiotic treatment. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, put it this way: "It means that women are not getting access to prenatal care, testing and treatment for syphilis. It's an unconscionable situation in America today."