In the 2017 Michigan Annual STD Summary Report, there was a rise in syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, which mirrors the national trends noted in the surveillance report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released. Where STDs were on the decline, they are now rising at an alarming rate.
Since 2008, Michigan saw up to 50,000 cases a year in chlamydia, but it rose to 51,000 in 2017. Gonorrhea cases were dropping between 2008 and 2014 but rose 60 percent in the last three years. A 20 percent increase was noted in 2017. Syphilis rates dropped 25 percent after an outbreak in 2013 but increased by 28 percent in 2017.
Most of the cases are being reported by African men and women, teenagers and gay or bisexual men.
STD symptoms for men, which include discharge, sores, rashes or burning while peeing, often resolve themselves without treatment intervention. However, they are still infected and can spread the disease to other people. Most females have no outward symptoms.
Antibiotics can cure all three diseases, but most go undiagnosed and untreated, which could lead to even more health problems such as ectopic pregnancy, infertility, stillbirth and an increase in HIV infections.
MDHHS Chief Executive Dr. Eden Wells said the majority of infected people do not know they are infected and pass their disease onto others. For the STD transmission rate to slow down, sexually active individuals are encouraged to get regular screenings. Wells said people are urged to speak with their doctor or other healthcare providers about testing or to get treatment from a local health department clinic.
MDHHS works in collaboration with health care providers, local health departments, community-based organizations and pharmacists to properly screen and treat people to protect their health and to stop the spread of STDs.
Wells said it’s important people understand the risk, abstain from sex, reduce their number of partners and always use condoms to slow down the spread of these diseases.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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Chlamydia is the bane of society. Young people afflicted with it could suffer from infertility and others life-threatening health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1.7 million cases reported in 2017, making it the most sexually transmitted disease of all.