The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention noticed a sharp rise in the number of new cases of the three common, reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea and primary and secondary syphilis, in 2019. According to the agency, around half of the infections were diagnosed among people aged 15-24.
“1.8 million cases of chlamydia, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2015; 616,392 cases of gonorrhea, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2015; and. 129,813 cases of syphilis (all stages), an increase of more than 70 percent since 2015,” reported the CDC.
Hence, STDs continue to be a concerning issue for the US and Ohio state is hugely impacted. The number of STDs cases are rising steadily every year, and the only way to stop this from becoming an epidemic is to get tested.
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are passed from one person to another through anal, vaginal, or oral sex. The dangerous thing about an STD is that people are unaware of their health status and keep transmitting the virus to others. When the infection reaches its more progressive stage, it becomes a disease and is referred to as an STD.
There are several different types of STDs, such as HIV, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are STDs. Regardless of which type of STD one contracts, its root cause would be a virus, bacteria, or a bug.
STDs are becoming a lot more common in Ohio. But, the real problem lies in the low numbers of people opting to get tested for STDs and STIs. Past research reveals that people who contract the most common STDs are never diagnosed at the right time, so they pass the disease to their sexual partners unknowingly.
It might feel intimidating and scary to identify your sexual health status by getting tested, but it is essential to prevent an STI from progressing into an STD. The good news is that most of the common STDs can be treated, even those that cannot be cured outright. Often, STDs do not impact your chances of living a healthy and active life if you choose to get tested for STDs at the right time.
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In 2018, Ohio recorded 63,220 chlamydia cases, 25,146 gonorrhea cases, and 740 primary and secondary syphilis cases, while the highest number of cases was reported in Cuyahoga County where around 11,025 chlamydia cases and 4,552 cases of gonorrhea were recorded by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). This could be attributed to reduced access to STD prevention and care, cuts to funding, and a decline in the use of condoms at the state and local levels. This has led to an increase in disease prevalence.
The most notable increase was among college-aged students and young adults aged 15-24. Chlamydia is the most common STD in the state, and this disease impacts both men and women. Between 1997 and 2017, the rate of reported chlamydia infections rose substantially, from 206 to 529 cases/100,000 people. gender-wise chlamydia impacted 717.8 females/100,000 female population in 2018 compared to national average of 692.7/100,000 females. on the other hand, 359.6 males per 100,000 male population were diagnosed with chlamydia in Ohio in 2018 compared to the national average of 380.6/100,000 people, indicating that fewer males are affected by chlamydia than females in the state.
Between 2012 and 2018, a substantial rise was noticed in the rate of chlamydia in Ohio, with 460 cases in 2012, 459 in 2013, 468 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 521 in 2016, 526 in 2017, and 543 in 2018. This trend indicates that the number of chlamydia cases was increasing every year. In 2018, the state recorded more new infections per 100,000 people.
Regarding gonorrhea, the rate has risen by over 50% since 2012. In 2012, Ohio reported 142.9 cases/100,000 people. In 2013 the number went slightly up with 143 cases and decreased considerably in 2014 with 138.3 cases/100,000 people. The number went up to 143 again in 2015 and rose to 176.8 in 2016. Gonorrhea infections in Ohio crossed the 200 mark in 2017 with 205 cases/100,000 people and reporting slightly over 216.3 cases/100,000 people in 2018. It is worth noting that Ohio has the highest gonorrhea rate in the entire US Midwest region, according to 2018 statistics.
The state’s primary and secondary syphilis rate dropped between 2017 and 2018, but in reality, the rate has almost doubled since 2012. In 2012, Ohio reported 3.7 syphilis cases per 100,000 people that increased to 3.8 in 2013, 4.8 in 2014, and 4.9 in 2015. In 2016, the number of cases increased to 6.2, and the most significant hike was noticed in 2017 when Ohio recorded 7.2 cases per 100,000 people. By 2018, the rate declined to just over 6 cases.
Furthermore, over one-third of chlamydial infections reported in the state in 2018 occurred in Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland. And, around 1 in 5 gonorrheal infections were diagnosed in the city of Columbus in 2018. Columbus reported around one-quarter of all primary/secondary syphilis diagnoses in Ohio in 2018.
According to the ODH, between 2015 and 2019, 20-24-year-old population was the most affected with gonorrhea, reporting around 7,198 cases, followed by 25-29-year-olds with 5,581 cases, and the third most impacted group was 15-19-year-olds with 4,675 cases.
Regarding gonorrhea, African-Americans reported the highest share of all recorded cases in the state with 12,890 cases and a rate of 791.6/100,000 people between 2015-2019. In 2015, this number was much lower, with the black population accounting for 8,850 cases. Whites reported 7,424 cases in 2019, making them the second most impacted race in the state. In 2015, around 3,925 cases of gonorrhea were reported in whites. Ethnicity-wise, the Non-Hispanic community recorded the biggest share of infections with 18,250 cases between 2015-2019, while males were more vulnerable to gonorrhea than females with 13,727 and 12,433 cases, respectively.
Chlamydia cases in Ohio between 2015-2019 were reportedly higher among people aged 20-24 with 24,284 cases, followed by 15-19 age group with 18,974 cases, and the third most impacted group was 15-19-year-olds with 11,518 cases. The Black/African American population reported the highest number of cases amongst all races with 25,270, at a rate of 1,551.9 cases per 100,000 persons. This number was reasonably low in 2015, with 21,400 African-American individuals reporting the disease. The white population recorded 22,090 cases overall in 2019, while in 2015, this number was lower at 18,941 cases overall. Gender comparison reveals that females were more impacted by chlamydia, with 43,789 cases on the whole, whereas males reported 21,825 cases between 2015-2019.
Primary/secondary syphilis cases were reportedly higher among people aged 25-29 with 433 cases in 2019, followed by 30-34-year-olds with 365 cases, and 20-24 was the third most affected group with 345 cases overall. Black/African American people reported the highest number of cases with 841, while this was lower in 2015 (663). Conversely, the white population registered the second-highest syphilis infection rate with 926 cases compared to 2015 rates, which is also significantly high (557). The male population reported 1,613 syphilis cases, while females accounted for considerably fewer cases (404).
The Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Program is responsible for tracking gonorrhea, chancroid, chlamydia, and syphilis in the state. It offers information to prevent the spread of STDs/ The program’s surveillance system includes data/information on the number of new diagnoses, demographic trends, treatments offered to patients, and whether needle-sharing or sexual partners were informed of their possible exposure to an STD. This information is shared with STD prevention staff, healthcare services providers, educators, planners, and the public. STD Surveillance Program also offers support and guidelines on reporting STD-related data.
Ohio’s STI Prevention Program is an important initiative from the Ohio Department of Health to prevent and control the spread of STIs. In this regard, six essential elements are used, including community/individual behavior change, partner services, data management and surveillance, quality assurance of medical/laboratory services, leadership/program management, and training and professional development. Under this initiative, free medications are supplied to eligible clinics offering STI testing to ensure they can treat STI and funding for these medications arrive from state and federal sources. Participating healthcare providers also receive these medications so that those who cannot afford STI treatment could receive them.
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.