New CDC statistics on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) show a sharp rise in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for the fourth consecutive year. Concerns abound for newborns with congenital syphilis and treatment resistant strains.
“We are sliding backward”
– Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, director, CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
MDLink reported this week on CDC statistics. The breakdown of increased incidence by disease in 2017 is as follows:
- Gonorrhea (2nd most common bacterial STD) increased by 67% overall.
- Primary and secondary syphilis increased 76%. Nearly 70% of primary cases occurred in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.
- Chlamydia remains the most common condition reported to the CDC, with over 1.7 million cases in 2017. A full 45% of these occurred in females aged 15 to 25 years.
“Newborns are now paying the price for our nation’s growing STD crisis.”
– David C. Harvey, executive director, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).
Of further concern is the recent uptick in congenital syphilis, of which nearly 1,000 cases have been recorded in 2017—the highest it has been in 20 years, according to the CDC.
Up to 40% of babies born to mothers with untreated syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection as a newborn. Infants who survive often face life-long complications, including deformed bones, blindness, and deafness.
Treatment Resistant Strains
In addition to the dramatic increase is the increasing strength of these diseases. While all three of these STDs are bacterial and can be treated, new strains are more resistant to current medications.
“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, MD, director, 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.”
Summary from MDLinX…
US STD rates continue to soar, breaking all past records
For the fourth consecutive year, the United States has experienced a sharp increase in reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, DC. In 2017, there were nearly 2.3 million cases of these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), beating the record set in 2016 by over 200,000 cases.
The record numbers of STD cases call for a renewed commitment from health-care providers to incorporate STD screenings and timely treatment into their standard medical care.