(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that more new cases of sexually transmitted diseases were reported last year than in any previous year, proving the need for improved prevention.
The CDC says more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016. The data coming from the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report.
The majority — 1.6 million — of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, with gonorrhea (470,000 new cases) and syphilis (28,000 new cases) also representing staggering figures.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention said. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
Young women are the most at risk of new diagnoses, the study found. Nearly half of the new diagnoses in 2016 were among that population. However, increases were also seed in men, in particular gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
The CDC also says there was a 28 percent increase in newborns diagnosed with syphilis last year. “Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic systems failure,” said Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous headache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans.”
The CDC says these findings highlight the need to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pregnant women — and prompt treatment of newborns — to strengthen the congenital syphilis response; helps state and local health departments respond to drug-resistant gonorrhea outbreaks; and work towards open conversation and education regarding STDs.
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