The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report Tuesday, revealing that more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, which is the highest number ever.
A press release published by the CDC Tuesday warned that, if left untreated, the skyrocketing number of STDs can have serious consequences.
Three major sexually transmitted diseases were highlighted in the report. The largest percentage of the new cases (1.6 million) were cases of chlamydia. Additionally, the report found 470,000 cases of gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis, the most infectious stages of the disease.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
The three diseases can be cured with antibiotics, but if left undiagnosed and untreated, they can result in infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillborn infants, and increased risk of HIV transmission, the CDC report stated.
It is an epidemic that is accelerating among many populations, affecting women, infants, and gay and bisexual men.
Gonorrhea increased among both men and women, according to the report, but the largest increases were among men, at 22 percent.
There was an increase of 36 percent of syphilis cases among women.
Congenital syphilis is preventable, with screening and treatment, in pregnant women, but over 600 cases were reported in newborns in 2016, resulting in over 40 deaths and severe health complications for newborn babies.
“Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic systems failure,” said Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous heartache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans.”
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