The cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the US have reached “the highest number ever,” as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea skyrocketed in 2016, says the new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Tuesday, the CDC released its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, which warned that infertility, stillbirth in infants, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and increased risk for HIV transmission can emerge in people who leave their STDs untreated.
Most of the new cases involved chlamydia, with a total of 1.6 million cases in the US last year. This bacterial infection affects both men and women.
Gonorrhea infections reached 470,000, with a 22 percent increase among men. The CDC attributed the increase to men who have sex with other men. The trend was described as “particularly alarming” because of a growing threat that the infection could become resistant to the last recommended antibiotic treatment.
There were 28,000 more cases of syphilis in the US, a nearly 18 percent increase from 2015. Most of these infections occurred among men who have sex with other men. However, women also saw a 36 percent jump in syphilis cases.
The report also showed 600 cases of syphilis, or a 28 percent increase, among newborn babies. The disease affecting newborns is known as congenital syphilis. The disease led to “more than 40 deaths and severe health complications among newborns,” according to the CDC.
“Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic systems failure,” said Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, according to AFP. “All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous heartache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans.”
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
The 2015 CDC report also showed concerns over a shocking rise in sexually transmitted infections. “We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” the agency’s representatives said.
All three infections can still be cured with antibiotics, but there are growing concerns that resistant strains may appear at any point.