The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the findings, which showed that there were about 1.7 million chlamydia cases, 580,000 gonorrhea cases about over 115,000 syphilis cases just last year. That’s five years now of new highs, which means there are about 2.4 million STD cases, with 100,000 new cases from last year.
There are some people who don’t take STDs seriously, but these diseases can kill people, and they can be prevented. Another troubling increase is in the number of congenital syphilis – at 40 percent – with 22 percent of babies dying from the disease. Congenital syphilis is when mothers pass the disease onto their babies. In 2017, 77 babies died of the disease. In 2018, there were 94 deaths.
It’s not just newborn death that congenital syphilis can cause but also stillbirth, miscarriage, and long-term neurological and physical health problems. CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention Director Jonathan Mermin said STDs are detrimental to babies and vulnerable persons. He said the only way to improve the situation is to control the spread of STDs.
The real tragedy is that chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with the help of antibiotics. If left untreated, the disease spreads from one person to another and can cause a host of health problems, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy. It also increases a person’s risk of catching HIV.
The problem is that sexually transmitted diseases don’t tend to show symptoms until sometime after the infection has taken hold. And, most people, for one reason or another, fail to get tested, which is one reason for the rising number of STD cases. And, it could be that more people have it even though they are asymptomatic.
The CDC said there are three factors that are potentially contributing to the rising numbers:
The CDC is demanding urgent action be taken to reverse this disturbing trend with more resources, funding and education being funneled into the crisis. The CDC suggests pregnant women get tested for syphilis to reduce the risk of congenital syphilis to their babies. Women can prevent their babies from getting this disease by getting tested themselves.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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