STDs Surge Across the US: CDC says
Three common STDs have increased sharply across the United States for the fourth year in a row. To help reverse this trend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling on individuals and healthcare providers to take these three actions to protect themselves, their partners, and their patients from STDs: Talk, Test, and Treat.
In 2016 alone, Washington state had 31,193 cases of chlamydia, 8,165 cases of gonorrhea, and 566 cases of syphilis. More than two million cases of the three STDs combined were reported nationwide. Congenital syphilis—syphilis passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery—has also dramatically increased.
“Across the nation, these data mean our work is more important than ever – and we can all get involved,” says Gail Bolan, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “CDC and other federal organizations, community leaders, health departments, community-based organizations, health care providers, and individuals can all take action at work, in our schools and communities, and at home to make a difference.”
Untreated STDs Can Have Serious Effects
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable with the right medicines, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated – which can lead to severe health problems that include infertility (inability to become pregnant), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.
Anyone who has sex can get an STD, but some groups in Washington and the U.S. are more affected than others: young people aged 15-24, gay and bisexual men, and people of color, particularly trans women of color. Prior studies suggest a range of factors may be at play – from socioeconomic challenges, like poverty, to issues of stigma and discrimination.
The good news? All STDs can be prevented and treated, and most can be cured. Here’s how individuals and healthcare providers can add the Talk. Test. Treat. strategy into their health routine:
- Talk openly with partner(s) and healthcare providers about sex and STDs.
- Get tested. Because many STDs have no symptoms, getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an infection.
- If you test positive for an STD, work with your doctor to get the correct treatment. Some STDs can be cured with the right medication. Those that aren’t curable can be treated.
Healthcare providers can
- Providing the best care possible means talking with patients about sexual health and safe sex practices.
- Test patients as recommended by CDC.
- Follow CDC’s STD Treatment Guidelines to make sure patients get successful treatment and care. CDC offers a free app for Apple and Android devices, so that you can access the guidelines from wherever you are.
April is STD Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about what STDs are, but it’s also a time to take action to protect your own health, or the health of those around you – whether they be a partner, a loved one, or a patient. Visit the official website for more information on how you can talk, test, and treat.