Here’s a scary health statistic–three sexually transmitted diseases are spreading. The STDs syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are rising for the first time in years, reported Health Day News on Nov. 17. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the number of cases of these major STDs increased last year for the first time since 2006. Here’s another scary stat: the rate of chlamydia infection is the highest it’s ever been. Some 1.4 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the CDC in 2014. That represents a 2.8 percent increase since 2013. This is the greatest number of cases of any STD ever reported to the CDC, said CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2014 report.
There were substantial increases in other STDs as well. Rates of syphilis shot up to 15 percent and 5 percent of the population is infected with gonorrhea. In 2014, there were slightly more than 350,000 reported cases of gonorrhea (that means 111 per 100,000 have gonorrhea). Additionally, there were 20,000 reported cases of syphilis, which represents 6 per 100,000 people infected. The report found that syphilis is highest among bisexual and gay men. In previous years CDC researchers had seen declines in some STDs and increases in others. But they are alarmed at how prevalent chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have become and that all three major STDS are rising.
Those most affected by STDs are young people and women. But now more men are infected with STDs and those increasing rates among males have driven the overall increases in gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. Syphilis among bisexual and gay men has been on the rise since 2000. In 2014, bisexual and gay men accounted for 83 percent of reported syphilis cases in men whose sexual partner’s gender is known. Another scary statistic is that in 2014, just over half of men with syphilis were also HIV-positive. Evidence shows increasing rates of gonorrhea and syphilis in bisexual and gay men. The CDC is says there’s an urgent need to address increasing STDs in men.
But most terrifying of all, is that young people are still the most disproportionately impacted by STDs. In 2014, people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for almost two-thirds of reported chlamydia and gonorrhea cases. Each year there are 20 million new STD cases diagnosed and half of those are diagnosed in young people, said the CDC. STDs are preventable and treatable, but CDC researchers blame inadequate access to clinics for the STD epidemic in recent years. STDs cost the U.S. $16 billion in healthcare.