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The Hells of North America: STDs Are ‘Out of Control’, 26% Spike In Syphilis, Experts Say

The Hells of North America: STDs Are ‘Out of Control’, 26% Spike In Syphilis, Experts Say

STDs

This 1975 microscope image made available by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. (AndreyPopov/Getty Images) Testing for diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea plummeted in many parts of the U.S. in 2020 as COVID-19 sapped away resources and staff. (Dr. E. Arum, Dr. N. Jacobs/CDC via AP)

Sexually transmitted diseases are on a significant rise in the U.S., including a 26 percent increase in new syphilis cases, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to The Associated Press (AP), Dr. Leandro Mena, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, recently addressed the increased infections during a speech at a medical conference. “It is imperative that we … work to rebuild, innovate, and expand (STD) prevention in the U.S.,” Mena said.

In addition to the increased syphilis cases, which are at their highest since 1948, HIV infections are up 16 percent from last year, AP reported. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said the rise in STDs is “out of control.”

Experts attribute a decrease in the use of condoms and people feeling more sexually liberated after the covid-19 pandemic as some of the causes behind the STD spike.

“It’s pretty simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people are having more unprotected sex,” Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told AP.

According to the data, cases are the highest among gay men and Black, Hispanic and Native Americans. There has also been a rise in congenital syphilis, a variation of the disease passed to newborns from their mothers, that can lead to blindness, deafness or death in babies.


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In April, the CDC reported that STD cases decreased at the start of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, but they resurged in the latter part of the year. Mena said the findings pointed to a more significant, systemic problem.

“The COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness of a reality we’ve long known about STDs. Social and economic factors – such as poverty and health insurance status – create barriers, increase health risks, and often result in worse health outcomes for some people,” Mena said. “If we are to make lasting progress against STDs in this country, we have to understand the systems that create inequities and work with partners to change them. No one can be left behind.”

PHOTO: This 1975 microscope image made available by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. (AndreyPopov/Getty Images) After an unprecedented push to test and track COVID-19, public health workers are grappling with a worrisome side effect: a collapse in screening for sexually-transmitted diseases that have been on the rise for years. Testing for diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea plummeted in many parts of the U.S. in 2020 as COVID-19 sapped away resources and staff. (Dr. E. Arum, Dr. N. Jacobs/CDC via AP)