New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 3 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in the United States — and have been for the past 5 years.
In 2018, the total number of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia cases reached an all-time high since the organization began tracking the infections back in 1991, according to the report the CDC published Tuesday.
Over 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported last year, a 3 percent increase from 2017.
About 580,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, which marks a 5 percent increase, along with a 14 percent spike in syphilis.
The rise in STDs has many health experts concerned, as it could have massive implications on public health.
Infertility rates could rise, and the infections could continue to contribute to a range of health issues, including strokes, meningitis, dementia, cardiovascular complications, and neurological conditions.
The mother-to-child transmission of STDs, specifically congenital syphilis, is also worrisome, as it puts the pregnancy at a higher risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, and even lifelong physical and neurological issues.
As the CDC states, it’s time to put a greater focus on the country’s STD epidemic and better manage the spread of these infections.
“You have to have a multifaceted approach to really deal with this problem, and of course they’d like to start with education — people have to understand that safe sex is still very important even in the age of antibiotics and antiretroviral drugs,” Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told Healthline.
If you need to find local STD testing locations, go to gettested.cdc.gov.