For the past six years, the USA has recorded a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the 2019 statistics shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, there were 1.9 million STDs cases nationwide, which increased to 2.6 by 2018. That’s a massive rise within four years.
The state of Missouri is also noticing a constant and sharp rise in the number of STDs cases. The most prominent STDs in the country and Missouri are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The rates of all three infections have risen in the past five years. As per the CDC, Missouri was ranked 7th in the overall gonorrhea rates, 12th in chlamydia cases, and 11th in primary/secondary syphilis cases.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that eventually turn into STDs can impact the genital, anal area, and mouth. However, some STDs/STIs may be transmitted through sexual skin-to-skin contact and an unborn child from an infected mother during pregnancy. STIs could be bacterial or viral. A viral infection can be impossible to treat if it is not diagnosed at the right time. Though a virus may remain inside the human body for life, its symptoms may not be present at all times.
Conversely, a bacterial infection is caused because of a bacterial organism, and active infection can be easily cured. The infection could be treated early, and if it remains untreated, it can cause irreparable damage to the body, such as sterility or infertility. These are lasting health consequences and may cause the onset of other chronic diseases such as HIV or impact functions of other body organs.
As per the 2019 report from CDC, there was a sharp rise reported in cases of congenital syphilis between 2015 and 2019 as the rates nearly quadrupled. Regarding infection rates in Missouri, the southwest region is the most affected one as far as syphilis cases are concerned. Moreover, the highest prevalence of STDs in the state mirrors the national trends since 15-24-year-old individuals make up nearly 61% of chlamydia cases and 42% of all gonorrheal infections. Therefore, it is essential to get tested if you fall into this age bracket and even otherwise. The CDC asserts that every sexually active individual must get screened for STDs at least once a year.
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Missouri’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance team analyzes and tracks data on the three common and reportable diseases, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. They collect data such as demographic, disease, condition-specific, geographic, and diagnosis rate-related information. The focus of this department is to ensure accurate diagnoses and timely reporting of STDs statewide, as the government believes these are vital parts of successful disease control.
The team enables public health agencies to detect infected contacts or at-risk population, determine the prevalence and incidence of STDs in a particular region in Missouri, aid physicians and clinics in evaluating illnesses not just in the patients but also at the community level, and assist the general public to make informed decisions regarding their lifestyle and sexual health.
Furthermore, the STD surveillance team is responsible for enhancing disease control efforts across the state, identifying any shifts in disease trends that may indicate increased incidence, and devising policies/prevention or intervention strategies to control STDs outbreaks. It also regulates Missouri STD Specialty Clinics to provide confidential testing/treatment of common STDs and HIV/AIDS to a broader public scale.
The University of Missouri has launched the Show-Me ECHO program. Under this initiative, an ECHO is designed to train and educate health care providers/professionals in developing multidisciplinary approaches to evidence-based HIV care and prevention.
According to 2017 statistics, over 32,000 cases of chlamydia were reported in Missouri. After population adjustment, the state was declared the 20th most impact state in the USA regarding chlamydia rate with 536 cases/100,000 people. Moreover, Missouri has been recording a consistent rise in chlamydia cases since 2013, and by 2017, it was up by 16%, making it the second-highest, most affected state in the region.
After population adjustment, Missouri ranks in the top fifteen states nationwide regarding the overall gonorrhea rate as it was ranked 11th for rising gonorrhea cases. Missouri’s rate of gonorrheal infections was almost 25% higher than the overall national rate in 2017, with over 200 cases per 100,000 population.
It is worth noting that Missouri’s gonorrhea rate has been increasing every passing year since 2014 after observing a period of decline. From 2012 to 2017, the state’s gonorrhea prevalence rate has jumped by 64%.
When it comes to primary/secondary syphilis, the state ranks in the top 20 most impacted states. Still, its overall incidence rate is comparatively lower than other states, with just over 8 cases/100,000 people. However, between 2012 and 2017, the state’s syphilis cases nearly quadrupled, and in the past three years, the rate has spiked tremendously. In the Midwest region, Missouri ranked second in 2017-2018 for the rate of primary/secondary syphilis.
A recent study by Innerbody.com, using data from CDC and the US Census Bureau, revealed that two Missouri cities were included in the 100 most impacted US cities in cases of STDs. These include St. Louis (no. 67) and Kansas City (no. 70).
Between 2016 and 2017, the number of chlamydia diagnoses in Missouri went up from 30,843 in 2016 to 32,683 in 2017. This rise was noted primarily in HIV care regions except for the southeast. The number of reported cases was higher in St. Louis, with 1,421 cases/100,000 people.
On the other hand, the diagnosis rate was higher in people aged 15-19. White females accounted for the second-largest share of cases in females with a 32% overall rate. In contrast, African-American females reported the most prominent rate of STD diagnoses, with over 36% of all cases. A similar scenario was observed among the males as Black males reported over 26% of all cases, followed by white males with over 17% cases.
The number of gonorrhea diagnoses between 2016 and 2017 also reported a significant rise, with 11,479 cases to 13,086 cases. HIV Care regions reported a sharp rise except for the St. Louis HIV Care region. St. Louis again reported the greatest number of gonorrheal infections with over 730 cases/100,000 people. Cases were higher among 15-19-year-old people.
Black females reported 31% of all cases, followed by white females with over 19% of all gonorrhea cases in Missouri. Black males reportedly had the largest share of gonorrhea diagnoses, with over 17% of all cases. White males accounted for the second-largest population group impacted by gonorrhea, with over 7% of all diagnoses.
The number of reported primary/secondary syphilis cases rose from 400 in 2016 to 507 in 2017. Iron County reported the highest number of cases with over 58 cases/100,000 people. African-American populace was disproportionately impacted with around 5.8 times higher number of syphilis cases than whites.
The number of early latent syphilis cases was higher in Dunklin County with 63 cases/100,000 people, and males had the higher share of diagnoses with over 84% of all cases. The case rate was six times higher in the black population compared to whites. It is important to note that in Missouri, of the 423 syphilis cases reported in 2017, around 38% were reported among people living with HIV.
Most people experience feelings of hesitation when going to get tested for STD, despite knowing they might have contracted one. EasySTD was created to change that.
Visit your nearest lab or clinic, order your home testing kit online, and follow the given instructions from an STD testing provider.
After ordering your STD test, visit the testing center to get tested or take a self sample including urine, cotton swab, or finger prick with the home testing kit and mail it back.
Receive the lab-certified results of your STD test from your test provider via mail or phone within 2 to 3 days. If the test comes positive, consult your doctor immediately.