This report from the CDC is very troubling, but perhaps not for why most of us would think.
This is an old tale. It began with all the fear-mongering WW II posters that warned soldiers concerning the awful venereal disease (VD). Most Americans are quite terrible when trying to talk about sex, and much worse when discussing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Are STDs Becoming More Problematic?
In 2013, as one study discovered that 50% of patients who visited Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) clinics had been unwilling to allow health insurance to pay the cost of these visits—most likely due to privacy concerns, scientists have concluded. During 2016, the US budget for “Abstinence Only Until Marriage” which promotes sex education in public schools—has shown over and over again to be completely ineffective in reducing both sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies—was boosted up to $85 million annually. For instance, typical high school health courses comprise of fewer than 4 hours used in discussing pregnancy prevention and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) combined, and that 87 percent permit guardians to keep their children from receiving this coursework.
So it is really not that shocking to hear about how these rates of infections are rising rather than going down. And because of the lack of education as well as discourse regarding these health issues, it just makes sense for Americans to interpret these findings from the CDC’s yearly Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report as some type of moral decline. However, medical professionals are telling us that it not that these people have been engaging in sex more often, it is actually a problem with the sexual healthcare that is not been satisfactory or even available.
So How Have Infection Rates Changed?
The new 2016 report from the CDC focuses on three infections which medical professionals are by law required to report: chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. It does not include HIV, which is probably the most notorious STI in the nation. On average, rates of attracted HIV have been on the decline as of the prior data evaluation. This new report from the CDC has not included data which refutes this fact. It should also be noted that herpes has not been included in this 2016 report.
But it is very true—and also very troubling—that gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis have all become more prevalent from the year 2015 to the year 2016. The CDC has reported about 1.6 million instances of chlamydia, 470,000 new incidents of gonorrhea, and approximately 28,000 cases of syphilis.
The chlamydia rates have risen by 4.7 percent and reports of increases virtually in all regions across the country. While gonorrhea rates had dropped to all-time lows in 2009, it has increased by more than 18 percent from the year 2015. And while syphilis hit its a historic low in 2000, it has since increased steadily. There was a 17.6 percent rise from the year 2015 to 2016, these increases were observed in women and men in all regions. Syphilis cases are by far more common in men who choose to have sex with other men, but the infection rates rose by nearly 36 percent in the year 2016, which was twice the increase observed in men.
Should people be worried about these infection rates?
There is good news to all this dreary data. And that is the fact all of these infections happen to be bacterial, which mean they are typically very easy to treat.
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