Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis hit a record high in 2016 for the second year in a row, with federal data showing more than 2 million reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Since then, the CDC has issued several warnings related to the growing number of STDs, one of them specifically address the increasing rates of primary and secondary syphilis, which prompted the CDC to issue a call to action in May 2017.
However, the new data show that rates of this potentially deadly disease increased nearly 18% between 2015 and 2016, with most of the cases in men who have sex with men.
Gonorrhea infection rates also rose, by 22% among men (and again especially among gays and bisexuals), with 470,000 reported. Cases of syphilis, once thought to be almost eradicated in the U.S., likewise climbed 17.5% to 28,000, while cases of congenital syphilis were up almost 28% to 628 cases, resulting in more than 40 newborn deaths, reports CNN. In 2016, there were more than 600 cases of syphilis-infected newborns, resulting in more than 40 deaths and severe health complications, the CDC said.
Health officials have said better testing and diagnosis have helped increased detection of cases, but treatment and prevention programs have been hurt by budget cuts.
CDPH reminds the public the three diseases can be prevented by consistent use of condoms and can be cured with antibiotics.
If left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection and lead to lifelong health problems, including infertility among women.
New statistics released by the California Department of Public Health shows sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high in the state. People may not get tested because they don't have symptoms or don't notice their symptoms, but then are still spreading the disease to others. MSM make up a majority of syphilis cases, and half of MSM diagnosed with syphilis were also living with HIV - pointing to the need to integrate STD and HIV prevention and care services, the report said. "Ironically, HIV is an STD, but we have a very visible community who advocates and works to tell stories about the impact of HIV on people's lives".