Reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States decreased during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but most resurged by the end of that year. Ultimately, reported cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and congenital syphilis surpassed 2019 levels, while chlamydia declined, according to new data published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data provide the clearest picture yet of COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. STD epidemic.
The newly released 2020 STD Surveillance Report found that at the end of 2020:
Reported cases of gonorrhea and primary & secondary (P&S) syphilis were up 10% and 7%, respectively, compared to 2019.
Syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis) also increased, with reported cases up nearly 15% from 2019, and 235% from 2016. Early data indicate primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis cases continued to increase in 2021 as well.
Reported cases of chlamydia declined 13% from 2019.
Chlamydia historically accounts for the largest proportion of reported STDs in the United States. The decline in reported chlamydia cases is likely due to decreased STD screening and underdiagnosis during the pandemic, rather than a reduction in new infections. This also contributed to an overall decrease in the number of reported STDs in 2020 (from 2.5 million reported cases in 2019 to 2.4 million in 2020).
TargetHIV: Ryan White and Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Offers information on Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program data related to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as HRSA Technical Assistance/Training Supporting MSM.
We invite you to follow HIV.gov and CDC on Twitter. We’ll be using #NGMHAAD to continue our long-running conversations about the epidemic’s impact on gay and bisexual men and how to take action in response to HIV.
As our country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that our partners in HIV prevention are facing unprecedented challenges and demands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remains committed to working to protect the communities it serves and to providing timely and important data that can be used to help guide decision-making and advance progress toward ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. The CDC has published two new reports: Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2018 (Updated) and Estimated HIV Incidence and Prevalence in the United States 2014–2018, as well as an AtlasPlus update that includes data from these reports. The reports and AtlasPlus update provide HIV diagnoses, diagnosed prevalence, and death data, along with estimated HIV incidence, prevalence, and knowledge of status through the year 2018. HIV prevention partners can use these reports, along with the data published in AtlasPlus, to help focus prevention efforts, allocate resources, monitor trends, and determine gaps and successes in HIV prevention.