3 Key Reasons There’s Been A Rise In STDs

3 Key Reasons There’s Been A Rise In STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that people spread during the middle of sex acts – be it orally, vaginally or anally.

And, these common STIs are on the increase. The problem with STDs is that they can cause very serious health problems, but testing for STDs is easy, and the majority of them are treatable.

The surefire way on not getting an STD is to avoid sexual contact. However, if you’re sexually active, using dental dams or latex condoms can drastically reduce the chance of getting an STD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a rise in the number of both gonorrhea and syphilis cases in the last few years – or a significantly large 20 percent increase.

The U.S. has a very high STD rate for a Western industrialized country. Talking about STDs is a start, and this will touch on the common syphilis and gonorrhea infections.

Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. It thrives in moist warm parts of the body such as the vagina, urethra, rectum, eyes, throat and female reproductive structures. Syphilis is the result of the Treponema pallidum, which can be spread through sexual contact and from an infected mother to her unborn baby during delivery. If not treated quickly, it can cause serious health complications.

According to experts, the rise in STDs is due to a multitude of factors that create the “perfect storm.”

Funding is one such factor.

There are several federal and state educational programs geared toward STD prevention, but a lack of funding has scaled back on these programs, and the public is not as aware of how they get an STD.

Planned Parenthood is the largest supporters of STD testing, treatment and testing. A majority of their patients are women, but men are also treated. However, many political groups have called for funding cuts to the program, which would have a direct impact on STD screening and treatment.

On top of that, many state-run health department STD clinics are being affected by the state funding cuts. For many of these clinics, the doors have closed. These clinics are important for many at-risk people who are embarrassed to talk about their health problems with a family doctor or don’t have the money to get tested and treated. The clinics offer confidential screening and treatments at no cost, which help to decrease the spread of STDs.

Another reason is that doctors are failing to question the patient’s history and sex practices.

Many STDs have no symptoms, and with fewer people getting tested. On top of that, doctors and other healthcare providers are failing to question their patients about sexual practices, histories and protections. This lack of screening and talking is leading to a rise in STDs.

There’s less fear about catching STDs.

HIV/AIDS is now known to be a chronic medical condition thanks to the new treatments that have been developed. No longer is it considered a death sentence, which is another reason the fear of STDs is not so high.

While STD rates are rising among all age groups, certain groups are more susceptible including Southerners, Latino and Black women, men and young adults. Men who have sex with other men are also seeing a rise in STD rates.

Women who fail to get treatment for STDs are likely to suffer more health consequences, as it can lead to infertility, congenital disabilities in unborn babies, cervical cancer, neurologic disease, etc. Men could also suffer from penile cancer if they have an untreated STD.

Although sex is a forbidden topic for most people, it’s important to talk about the subject and sexual health with one another and with healthcare providers. People need to better educate themselves about STDs, and they need to have access to screening, testing and treatment for STDs.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

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