Health authorities are sounding the alarm over the rapid spread, urging swift measures to prevent STDs
US health officials have called for new prevention and treatment efforts as the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and syphilis, has skyrocketed in recent years.
Speaking at a medical conference earlier this week, Dr Leandro Mena of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said he was “imperative” that the United States is working to “rebuild, innovate and develop” Prevention of STDs. It comes as the rate of syphilis infections hit a 20-year high last year and the number of new infections soared 26%, beating a record set in 1948.
National Coalition of STD Directors leader David Harvey, whose group is pushing for a proposal for at least $500 million in federal funding to be earmarked for STD clinics, described the situation as “out of control.”
Health officials suggest a number of possible solutions to the problem, such as, for example, promoting the use of condoms and developing home testing kits for certain STDs that would make it easier for people to know s ‘they are infected and so prevent further spread of disease.
Syphilis has been named as one of the most dangerous STDs which has seen a spike in infections recently. Although this bacterial disease usually presents as genital sores, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious consequences and symptoms and even death.
The disease was believed to have been nearly eliminated several decades ago. In 1998, fewer than 7,000 cases of syphilis were reported in the United States. However, by 2002 cases had started to rise, primarily among gay and bisexual men. By 2020, annual cases had reached nearly 41,700 and reached over 52,000 the following year.
The CDC pointed out that infection rates are highest among men who have sex with men and among blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. The rate for women, which is generally considered lower than for men, has also risen dramatically, by around 50% over the past year.
Mena stresses the importance of reducing the stigma associated with STDs, expanding testing and treatment services, and supporting the development and accessibility of home testing. “I imagine a day when getting tested (for STDs) can be as easy and affordable as taking a home pregnancy test,” he said.