LOADING ...

STDs in America Hit Another Record High in 2018

Ed Cara Oct 09, 2019. 12 comments

It’s been a banner half-decade for sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., according to a new report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 saw yet another record high for STDs in the country, with reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis climbing for the fifth straight year.

The report’s findings, as even the CDC admits, are an imperfect measure of how often people in the U.S. are actually getting STDs.

For one, some STDS, such as genital herpes and trichomoniasis, aren’t nationally tracked on a yearly basis by the CDC. Other diseases spread by sex, like viral hepatitis and HIV, are tracked on a national level, but their numbers aren’t detailed in this report. And though chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the three most commonly reported STDs in the country, many people catch these diseases but go undiagnosed, often because they never display any symptoms.

Despite these limitations, the new report serves as a barometer for the country’s overall STD trends, and things aren’t looking good.

In 2018, there were nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—the highest combined number of all three ever documented. Chlamydia was the most common STD with 1.78 million cases, followed by gonorrhea with over 580,000 cases, and syphilis with over 115,000 cases.

The annual rate of chlamydia has climbed steadily since 2000, when it first began being nationally tracked. And while reported rates of gonorrhea and syphilis have been higher historically, they had been on a downward trend for decades until recently. The rates of all three have risen without fail for five years and counting.

The jump in syphilis has been especially tragic, since it can transmit from mother to child in the womb and cause serious, sometimes fatal complications. Between 2017 and 2018, cases of congenital syphilis increased 40 percent, with more than 1,300 in 2018; deaths increased 22 percent as well, with 94 deaths in 2018.

“This goes beyond data and surveillance, beyond numbers and calculations—we lost 94 lives before they even began to an entirely preventable infection,” said Gail Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, in a statement on Tuesday.

There’s no one simple answer for why STDs are becoming more common in the U.S.. Strangely enough, young Americans, one of the groups most at risk to catch STDs, are likely having less sex and with fewer partners than past generations. But the CDC report does note that state and local STD program budgets have been cut in recent years, leading to staff layoffs and reduced hours at sexual health clinics. The lack of funding has also led to higher co-pays for patients, which can obviously make it harder for people to be diagnosed and treated for STDs.

For the time being, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are still relatively easy to treat with antibiotics once diagnosed, though even that is starting to change. Cases of highly resistant gonorrhea , for instance, are starting to crop up across the world and even in the U.S. That makes prevention all the more crucial, so practice safer sex with condoms and other prophylactics and get routinely tested if you’re sexually active, especially if you have multiple partners.

12 Comments

Other Ed Cara's posts

Scientists Say Their Experimental Drug Knocks Out the Flu, in Animal Tests at Least Scientists Say Their Experimental Drug Knocks Out the Flu, in Animal Tests at Least

We might be inching closer to a holy grail of medicine: an incredibly effective flu-killing drug that the virus can’t quickly adapt to. A new experimental treatment was able to rapidly reduce the flu virus in ferrets, but human trials are still a ways off. Researchers at Georgia State and Emory University have spent the last few years trying...

The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too

A common bacterial infection that causes stomach ulcers and cancer has gotten increasingly harder to fend off, according to new preliminary research out this week. In Europe, it suggests, strains of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori have become more resistant to the first-line drugs used to kill it over the past 20 years, with resistance rates doubling for at least...

State Fair Hot Tubs Probably Spread Deadly Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in North Carolina State Fair Hot Tubs Probably Spread Deadly Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in North Carolina

State fairs are a mixed bag in the best of times. But for a hundred or so people who attended the North Carolina Mountain State Fair this past September, it was a nightmare. State health officials have traced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease to the fair, with the most likely source of infection being contaminated hot tubs.The fair ran...

Aspirin, Strangely Enough, Might Protect Our Lungs From Air Pollution Aspirin, Strangely Enough, Might Protect Our Lungs From Air Pollution

A dose of aspirin can do more than just soothe your headache, a new study suggests—it might also protect your lungs from air pollution.Air pollution harms our bodies in all sorts of ways , both short-term and long-term. One of these ways is through irritating and inflaming lung cells. So it makes sense that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory...

Suggested posts

First Look at 'Sycamore,' Google's Quantum Computer First Look at 'Sycamore,' Google's Quantum Computer

Between the mountainous and coastal vistas of Goleta, California, sits an unassuming office on the side of a building next to the freeway. It could belong to any Southern California company; workers sit in gray cubicles beneath fluorescent lights, and there’s a rack to hold employees’ bikes and surfboards. But at those desks are physicists and computer scientists developing a...

Fresh Look at New Horizons Data Shows Pluto’s ‘Far Side’ in Unprecedented Detail Fresh Look at New Horizons Data Shows Pluto’s ‘Far Side’ in Unprecedented Detail

When New Horizons zipped past Pluto on July 14, 2015, the NASA spacecraft was only able to observe one side of the dwarf planet. Scientists have now reviewed data collected by New Horizons during its approach and as it traveled away, resulting in the most detailed analysis yet of Pluto’s elusive far side.Using its two onboard cameras—the Long Range...

Scientists Say Their Experimental Drug Knocks Out the Flu, in Animal Tests at Least Scientists Say Their Experimental Drug Knocks Out the Flu, in Animal Tests at Least

We might be inching closer to a holy grail of medicine: an incredibly effective flu-killing drug that the virus can’t quickly adapt to. A new experimental treatment was able to rapidly reduce the flu virus in ferrets, but human trials are still a ways off. Researchers at Georgia State and Emory University have spent the last few years trying...

This Uninhabited Island Is Covered in Rubber Bands Because Birds Think They’re Worms This Uninhabited Island Is Covered in Rubber Bands Because Birds Think They’re Worms

British conservationists have figured out why a protected island near the UK’s southwest coast is littered with thousands of elastic bands.Mullion Island is an uninhabited island on the eastern coast of Cornwall county in the southern UK. The tiny landmass measures only about 850 feet across. Because the entirety of Mullion Island has been set aside as a bird...

Elon Musk on His Space Internet: 'Whoa, It Worked' Elon Musk on His Space Internet: 'Whoa, It Worked'

It’ll require a few more years—and thousands of more satellites—before SpaceX’s Starlink internet constellation achieves full functionality, but that didn’t stop Elon Musk from participating in an early test of the system, which apparently worked.Late last night, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he was sending a “tweet through space via Starlink satellite.” A few minutes later he replied...

The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too

A common bacterial infection that causes stomach ulcers and cancer has gotten increasingly harder to fend off, according to new preliminary research out this week. In Europe, it suggests, strains of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori have become more resistant to the first-line drugs used to kill it over the past 20 years, with resistance rates doubling for at least...

The Most Bullshit Health and Wellness Fads of the Decade The Most Bullshit Health and Wellness Fads of the Decade

Decade's EndDecade's EndGizmodo, io9, and Earther look back at our passing decade and look ahead at what kind of future awaits us in the next ten years.Prev NextView All As 2019 creeps ever closer to its merciful end, there’s plenty we’re glad to be leaving in the rearview mirror. Much of the last decade—particularly the tail end of it—has...

Air Pollution Is Increasing for the First Time in a Decade Under Trump Air Pollution Is Increasing for the First Time in a Decade Under Trump

After a decade of improvements in air pollution, the U.S. is backsliding. And that means more people are dying prematurely, according to new research. The paper authors don’t point to a specific reason why the increase happened, but the numbers are clear that it occurred under the presidency of Donald Trump. A team of economists at Carnegie Mellon University...

Aye-Ayes Have Been Hiding a Secret Sixth Finger This Whole Time Aye-Ayes Have Been Hiding a Secret Sixth Finger This Whole Time

Aye-ayes are among the strangest primates on Earth, with their oversized ears, spider-like hands, and—as new research shows—a previously undetected sixth finger.Five fingers per hand tends to be the norm in the animal kingdom, but scientists have documented several cases in which organisms feature a sixth finger, an anatomical quirk known as an “accessory digit.” An extra digit among...

These Rat-Eating Monkeys Are a Surprisingly Effective Form of Pest Control These Rat-Eating Monkeys Are a Surprisingly Effective Form of Pest Control

Pig-tailed macaques in Malaysia love to visit oil palm plantations, where they snack on abundantly available fruit. Despite the damage inflicted on the crops, these monkeys actually do more good than harm owing to their predilection for an even-worse pest: rats.New research published today in Current Biology shows that southern pig-tailed macaques have been falsely maligned for their role...

Language