Pharmacy News

STDs reach all time high

Annual cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States continued to increase in 2019, hitting an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, according to new CDC data.

The 2019 STD Surveillance Report shows there were 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—the three most commonly reported STDs in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019, there was a nearly 30% increase in these STDs. The biggest increase was in cases of congenital syphilis, which almost quadrupled during that period.

“Less than 20 years ago, gonorrhea rates in the U.S. were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and advances in chlamydia diagnostics made it easier to detect infections,” said Raul Romaguera, acting director for CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “That progress has since unraveled, and our STD defenses are down. We must prioritize and focus our efforts to regain this lost ground and control the spread of STDs.”

The data provide the most recent full picture of STD trends in the United States before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Early data for 2020 indicate that many of these worrying trends continued into that year. The new data show that while the burden of STDs increased overall and in many groups in 2019, racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and youth were affected the most.

“Focusing on hard-hit populations is critical to reducing disparities,” said Jo Valentine, associate director of the Office of Health Equity in CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “To effectively reduce these disparities, the social, cultural, and economic conditions that make it more difficult for some populations to stay healthy must be addressed. These include poverty, unstable housing, drug use, lack of medical insurance or regular medical provider, and high burden of STDs in some communities.”

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