At the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington yesterday, the Center for Disease Control released preliminary figures showing, for the fourth straight year, sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise.
In fact, 2017 saw a record 2.3 million cases of STDs in the United States.
The CDC described the increase as “steep” and “sustained” between 2013 and 2017.
At the top of the list was Chlamydia, accounting for a whopping 1.7 million diagnoses.
Additionally, Gonorrhea has jumped 67% and syphilis increased 76% in the four year time period. The CDC notes that 70% of those cases are among gay/bisexual men.
Guys - are you paying attention?
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s national STD agency, warned “We are sliding backward.”
“It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point,” he added.
Of great concern is gonorrhea’s increasing resistance to antibiotics.
For years, folks have felt that solving a gonorrhea infection could be as simple as a quick treatment with antibiotics. But medical experts say gonorrhea is becoming resistant to even the last remaining antibiotic used to treat the disease, ceftriaxone.
“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,’ said Dr Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.
David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, blames the steep rise in STDs on cutbacks in federal resources describing the STD prevention engine as “running on fumes.”
Some folks look to a rise in the use of PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) as partly to blame for the increase in STD diagnoses.
A recent analysis of studies shows that while men on PrEP definitely see drop in HIV studies, chlamydia and syphilis increased by nearly 25% in first six months on PrEP.
But back in June, Matthew Hodson of Gay Star News opined that PrEP alone isn’t to blame. He named check dating apps, increases in chemsex, and even changing social attitudes towards sex.
What do you think is causing the steep rise in STDs, readers?
Less condoms? More PrEP? Perhaps dating apps? Or recreational drugs?
Sound off in the comments.
Reminder - the CDC recommends all sexually active gay and bisexual men to check in with their doctors regarding sexual health at least once a year. And get tested for STDs every 3-6 months if you’re playing with multiple partners.