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STDs Continue To Rise In The US: Study

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Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs continue to rise in the U.S. and touched an all-time high in 2018, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC.

The annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report by the CDC notes that combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reached an all-time high in the U.S. last year. Newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis increased 22 percent in 2018 from the prior year.

According to the report, the increase in STDs was due to multiple factors such as drug use, poverty, stigma, and unstable housing, all of which can reduce access to STD prevention and care.

A decline in the use of condoms among vulnerable groups such as young people as well as gay and bisexual men, as well as budget cuts in recent years to STD programs at the state and local level also contributed to the rise in the disease.

The report shows that the three most commonly reported STDs recorded increase in 2018 compared to the prior year:

There were more than 115,000 cases of syphilis reported in 2018, while gonorrhea cases rose 5 percent to more than 580,000 and Chlamydia increased 3 percent to more than 1.7 million cases.

The number of primary and secondary syphilis cases increased 14 percent in 2018 to more than 35,000, the highest number reported since 1991.

The study notes that antibiotics can cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

However, STDs that are left untreated can be transmitted to others and produce adverse health outcomes. These include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and increased risk of HIV.

The CDC urged health care providers to make STD screening and timely treatment a standard part of medical care.

The agency also advised state and local health departments to strengthen the local public health infrastructure and ensure that resources are directed to the most vulnerable populations.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes CDC, is developing a Sexually Transmitted Infections or STI Federal Action Plan.

Known as the STI Plan, it is intended to address and reverse the nation's STD epidemic. This report will be released in 2020.

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