Combined cases of STDs reach all-time high in U.S. causing growing threat for newborn deaths from syphilis


Courtesy U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

(WIVB)–A recent release from the CDC says there’s a growing threat of newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis due to cases of STDs reaching an all-time high in the United States in 2018.

According to the annual STD Surveillance Report, combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were on the rise.

Officials say newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis rose from 77 to 94 from 2017 to 2018, an increase of 22%.

The report shows the numbers surrounding the increase in the three most commonly reported STDs:

  • There were more than 115,000 syphilis cases.
    • The number of primary and secondary syphilis cases – the most infectious stages of syphilis – increased 14 percent to more than 35,000 cases, the highest number reported since 1991.
    • Among newborns, syphilis cases increased 40 percent to more than 1,300 cases.
  • Gonorrhea increased 5 percent to more than 580,000 cases – also the highest number reported since 1991.
  • Chlamydia increased 3 percent to more than 1.7 million cases – the most ever reported to CDC.

According to the CDC, the 40% increase in congenital syphilis continues a dangerous trend in recent years. Most states reported at least one case of syphilis. Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana accounted for 70% of the cases in the U.S.

Collected data suggest multiple factors are contributing to the overall increase, including:

  • Drug use, poverty, stigma, and unstable housing, which can reduce access to STD prevention and care
  • Decreased condom use among vulnerable groups, including young people and gay and bisexual men
  • Cuts to STD programs at the state and local level – in recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services

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