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GROSS: STDs On The Rise For The Fourth Year In A Row In The U.S.

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According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexually transmitted diseases are in a rise in America. In 2017 in the United States, close to 2.3 million cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea were diagnosed, surpassing a record set in 2016 by over 200,000, CDC scientists reported on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced that the rates have climbed for the fourth consecutive year in the United States at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington.

“It is time that President Trump and [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Alex] Azar declare STDs in America a public health crisis,” said executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, David Harvey, which co-hosted the conference said Tuesday.

Experts say less frequent condom use has contributed to the rapid rise, along with other factors. Some researchers believe dating apps, like Tinder, could have contributed in some way to the recent rise in STD–but that can’t be proven.

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Professor and director of the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Rob Stephenson, said that “it’s not a surprising trend.”

“I think over the last five years, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in the US, and we’re also starting to see a plateau in our fight against the HIV epidemic, as well,” said Stephenson, who was not involved in the recent CDC research.

“We’re talking about millions of infections with just these three infections,” said Dr. Edward Hook, endowed professor of infectious disease translational research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine and scientific committee chair of the National STD Prevention Conference.

Total number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in the United States:

2013- 1,725,285

2014- 1,811,850

2015- 1,945,746

2016- 2,094,682

2017- 2,294,821

–according to the preliminary CDC data.

Hook said that it was concerning to see the tremendous and significant increases in STD rates across the country.

“Gonorrhea diagnoses that were reported to the CDC increased by nearly 67%. Diagnoses of primary and secondary syphilis increased over 75%, and chlamydia rates continued to increase,” he said. “It’s important to remember that while these are preliminary data, and the data are eight months out of date. There’s absolutely no reason to think that the increases that are being described by the CDC haven’t continued into 2018.”

The direct medical costs for treating those with STDs in America are not cheap.

In 2008, the 19.7 million reported cases of sexually transmitted infections equaled around %15.6 billion in total lifetime direct medical costs, according to a study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases in 2013.

“I do think we’ve seen significant funding cuts in prevention efforts around sexual health in general,” Stephenson said. “It’s not a difficult jump to see how that’s actually preventing us from winning the fight against negative sexual health outcomes.”

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