STDs are on the rise dramatically, with combined reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reaching their highest level ever, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The annual CDC STD report said that from 2014 to 2015, there were double-digit percentage increases in primary and secondary syphilis (19 percent) and in gonorrhea (12.8 percent). Chlamydia increased 5.9 percent over the same period.
"We have reached a decisive moment for the nation," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. "STD rates are rising, and many of the country's systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow."
The New York Times said the report showed that young people, racial minorities, and men who have sex with other men were most at risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. The report also said chlamydia was the most common of the STD to be reported with more than 1.5 million cases last year.
Men having sex with other men accounted for the majority of new gonorrhea and syphilis cases (82 percent of male cases with known gender of sex partner), while antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea may be higher among the same group, said the CDC.
"The health outcomes of syphilis – miscarriage, stillbirth, blindness or stroke – can be devastating," said Dr. Gail Bolan, Director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention.
"Syphilis is a continuing trend among men who have sex with men, and it's really a crisis in this group," Hayley Mark, associate professor of community-public health at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, told CNN. "One thing that is very new in this report is the increase in syphilis among women," she added. Women who are pregnant can pass syphilis onto their babies. It is known as congenital syphilis, which can be deadly if not treated."
Bolan told CNN the chlamydia increase could be due to more people getting tested through awareness and better testing methods.
Mark said part of the reason for the increase in gonorrhea and syphilis could be men having condom burnout, or being less likely to wear condoms because infections such as HIV are more treatable now.
Last year, the Rhode Island Department of Health blamed "hookup apps" like Tinder for the jump in STDs, stating that the growing cases followed the national trend of the apps' popularity, reported CNN Money then.
"A 2013 New York University study found that Craigslist was responsible for a 16 percent increase in HIV cases between 1999 and 2008 across 33 states," said CNN reporter David Goldman. "Grinder, a hookup app for gay men, was associated with more than half of all syphilis cases in New Zealand in 2012, according to Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic."
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