Cases of three common yet treatable sexually transmitted diseases increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2017, the Center for Disease Control said in a report released Tuesday.
THE WRONG DIRECTION. According to the CDC, the US saw just under 2.3 million people diagnosed with syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia in 2017. This figure was boosted by a 45 percent increase among 15-24-year-old females.
"We are sliding backward", Jonathan Mermin, the CDC's director for HIV/AIDS, Viral, STD and TB Prevention, said.
PREVENTION TREATMENT. This trio of STDs can lead to infertility, stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies, and a host of other conditions if left untreated.
The data was revealed at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington.
Gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67 percent between 2013 and 2017, and almost doubled among men during that time period.
Building Healthy Online Communities, a public health group that works with apps to support STD prevention, believes dating apps have become "digital bathhouses" and could be increasing the rate of disease.
Syphilis diagnoses have spiked by 76 percent since 2013, from 17,375 to 30,644 cases, respectively. The U.S.'s rate of new STD cases has been trending upward for some time now, with each of the past four years resulting in "steep and sustained" increases, according to the CDC.
All three are curable with antibiotics, but gonorrhea is increasingly resistant to most drugs used to treat it.
Over the years, gonorrhea has become resistant to almost every class of antibiotics used against it. Ceftriaxone (Rocephin) now stands as the only antibiotic to retain high effectiveness against gonorrhea in the United States, the CDC says.
The diseases are soaring among heterosexual men along with pregnant women and their babies, according to the report.
Finally, the experts said that funding for public health response to STDs has diminished over the years.
"We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed", Bolan said. "We can't let our defenses down - we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible".