CDC Announces New STD Rates; Fewer People Using Condoms May Be Big Reason

CDC Announces New STD Rates; Fewer People Using Condoms May Be Big Reason

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the latest grim news about STDs and HIV rates.

  • 1.7+ million people were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2018 – an increase of three percent from 2017.
  • Roughly 580,000 new gonorrhea infections – the highest rate since 1991 and an increase of five percent (researchers are concerned about antibiotic resistance)
  • 35,000 new syphilis cases – a rise of 15 percent and the highest since 1991.
  • Over 1,300 new congenital syphilis cases – a rise of 40 percent (this kind of syphilis is when the mother passes the disease onto her baby during pregnancy).

Baylor Scott & White Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Seth Sullivan said the local numbers are in line with the national ones. Why is that thought?

Sullivan said fewer people are using condoms, and are taking a more cavalier approach to sex and are unafraid of catching an STD. He said some of the drop in condom use is the result of other resources being available, especially for HIV/AIDS.

He said the HIV/AIDS epidemic isn’t the same as it once was – with more people able to get and use treatment thanks to a one-a-day-pill. He said people are not as scared of HIV as they once were. On top of that, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics.

The problem, Sullivan said, is that people may never know they have these infections and could do irreversible harm to their reproductive system. He said these diseases could lead to inflammation and scarring that is permanent for both men and women.

Sullivan said the solution to this problem is easy – just use condoms and get STD testing every three months if engaging in risky behavior or anytime you start a new relationship.

Mark Riegel, MD
Mark Riegel, MD

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