Three common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in the United States.
Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in 2017, marking the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases, according to a 2018 release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number surpasses the previous record set in 2016 by more than 200,000.
In the latest CDC analysis, which includes STD cases reported for 2013 and preliminary data for 2017, gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67 percent, nearly doubling among men.
Chlamydia, the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease in America, reports the CDC, is up 22 percent.
Syphilis increased 76 percent, with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men making up almost 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases, the CDC reports.
Breaking the figures down by state, Texas placed No. 22 for gonorrhea, an infection caused by the bacterium neisseria gonorrhoeae that is becoming antibiotic resistant, according to the CDC. There were 47,409 reported cases with an infection rate of 170.2 per 100,000 population.
Texas ranked No. 18 for chlamydia, with 151,533 reported cases and an infection rate of 543.9 per 100,000 population, the CDC reports. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection known as the silent epidemic for women since symptoms are not evident in many cases for several months and can lead to fertility problems.
For primary and secondary syphilis, a deadly bacterial infection with four stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary, Texas came in at No. 18, with 2,233 reported cases and an infection rate of 8.0 per 100,000 population.
Texas is No. 4 for congenital syphilis, which is passed from mother to infant, with 176 reported cases and an infection rate of 44.2 per 100,000 live births. The disease has seen a 154 percent increase since 2013, according to the CDC, which also reports that nearly half of all children infected while in the womb do not survive.
Most cases go undiagnosed
Gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are curable with antibiotics, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated, the CDC reports. This can lead to severe adverse health effects including infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.
Factors that may contribute to STD increases include socioeconomic factors like poverty, stigma, discrimination and drug use.
"We are sliding backward," director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H said in a 2018 release.
"It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point."
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