Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases have soared in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic could only make matters worse.
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April 30, 2021 By Liz Advertisement New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that reported annual cases of sexually transmitted infections (STDs) in the United States continued to rise in 2019 and increased for the sixth year in a row. reached record high.
Gay and bisexual men, African American people, and young people had disproportionately high rates. And the latest numbers do not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2019, the federal agency received more than 2.5 million reports of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, the three most common notifiable Sits (also known as sexually transmitted infections or STDs).
This is an increase of nearly 30% since 2015. “Less than 20 years ago, US gonorrhea rates were at all-time lows, syphilis was nearly gone and advances in chlamydia diagnostics made it easier to detect infections”, Raul Romancers, DMD, MPH, acting director of CDC’s STD prevention division, said in a press release.
“That progress has since been unraveled and our STD defenses have gone down. We need to prioritize and focus our efforts to reclaim this lost ground and control the spread of STDs. “
Chlamydia: More than 1.8 million cases of chlamydia were reported in 2019 (552.8 cases per 100,000 people), an increase of 3% since 2018 and almost 20% since 2015.
The number of cases increased in both men and women , in all racial / ethnic groups and in all regions of the country. Nearly two-thirds of the cases involved adolescents and young adults. Gonorrhea: 616,392 cases of gonorrhea were reported in 2019, an increase of more than 50% since 2015.
Men had a higher rate and saw a greater increase (61%) than women (44%). In addition, gonorrhea was resistant to at least one antibiotic in more than half of the cases. Syphilis: 129,813 cases of syphilis were reported in 2019, an increase of more than 70% since 2015.
This included 38,992 cases of primary and secondary syphilis, the most contagious stages. Again, cases occurred in both men and women, in all racial / ethnic groups and in all geographic regions. Gay and bi men accounted for the majority (57%) of the cases. The strongest increase was seen for congenital syphilis, or infection present in neonates at birth, which increased by nearly 300% during this period to nearly 1,870 cases (48.5 per 100,000 live births).
The number of stillbirths and infant deaths from syphilis has also increased. Congenital syphilis reflects both a lack of timely prenatal care to diagnose the disease in pregnant women and the failure to treat cases that are diagnosed.
While all of these STDs are treatable, they can have serious health consequences if left untreated. While many people don’t have early symptoms, STDs can eventually cause pelvic inflammation, cause infertility, and result in pregnancy complications and infant death.
Some STIs also increase the risk of contracting HIV. Not all STIs need to be reported – and many people still go undiagnosed – so the actual total burden is significantly higher than these numbers indicate.
A previous CDC analysis found that in 2018, about one in five people in the US had one of these three STIs: HIV, hepatitis B virus, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), or trichomoniasis. Uneven burden While STD rates generally increased, some groups had a greater burden than others.
Gay and bi men were up to 42 times more likely than heterosexual men to be diagnosed with gonorrhea, and they accounted for nearly half of primary and secondary syphilis in 2019.
Young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for more than half (55%) of reported STD cases, including 42% of gonorrhea and 61% of chlamydia. Black people were five to eight times more likely;
American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders were three to five times more likely; and Latinos were up to twice as likely as non-Hispanic white people to be diagnosed with STDs in 2019, the CDC said.
As the report explains, these inequalities are unlikely to be due to differences in sexual behavior between ages and racial / ethnic groups, but rather reflect differential access to quality sexual health care and differences in sexual network characteristics. For example, in communities with a higher STI prevalence, there is a greater chance that someone will encounter a sex partner who is a carrier of an STI. “Focusing on hard-hit populations is critical to reducing inequalities,” said Jo Valentine, MSW, associate director of the Office of Health Equity in CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.
“To effectively reduce these inequalities, the social, cultural and economic conditions that make it more difficult for some populations to stay healthy must be addressed. These include poverty, unstable housing, drug use, lack of medical insurance or [a] regular medical provider and the high burden of STDs in some communities. “
During the COVID-19 crisis, many people may have had less sex while taking precautions to avoid contracting the coronavirus. But at the same time, medical services, including STI and HIV screening, treatment and partner services, have been curtailed, which could drive up rates.
In fact, the reduction in STD services preceded the pandemic. According to a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, COVID-19 has “exposed weaknesses in public health preparedness as a result of weak infrastructure, an under-capacity and inferior workforce, and limited peak capacity.” Preliminary data suggests that many of these trends in question have continued into 2020.
While many sexual health clinics have reopened, COVID-19 has led to a shift to telecaster that may continue after the pandemic. For example, Take Me Home offers home delivery of free test kits for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. Cotton swabs are used to collect throat and rectal samples, and blood samples are collected with a finger prick. The HIV test provides results in 20 minutes.
Other samples are sent to a lab for analysis and the results can be viewed online. Visit takemehome.org for more information in English and Spanish.
In addition to telegraph, the CDC has also identified other strategies to provide better access to STD services, including “STD Express Clinics” that provide walk-in testing and treatment without a full clinical trial and that partner with retail pharmacies and health clinics. The new data also underscores the need for comprehensive sex education in schools.
“STDs will not wait for the pandemic to pass, so we have to rise to the challenge now,” said Romancers. “This new data should create a sense of urgency and mobilize the necessary resources so that future reports can tell a different story.”