A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a startling rise in the number of cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia in 2018.
The CDC’s annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report indicates more than 2.4 million infections of the three STDs were reported in 2018, an increase of more than 100,000 from 2017.
The New York Times reports the CDC points to multiple factors for the increase:
• A decline in condom use among young people and men who have sex with men
• Increased screening among some groups
• Cuts to sexual health programs at the state and local level
There were more than 115,000 cases of syphilis reported in 2018, which means an increase of 71 percent since 2014.
Gonorrhea cases increased by 5 percent in 2018 to more than 580,000. That’s the highest number reported to the center since 1991.
And chlamydia diagnoses rose by 3 percent in 2018 to more than 1.7 million cases. Again, a record-breaking figure for the CDC.
The report noted that gay and bisexual men were disproportionately represented in the increase in infection rates. Fifty-four percent of all syphilis cases in 2018 were found in men who have sex with men (MSM).
Unfortunately, these figures may not be a full accounting of STDs in America today as many cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia go undiagnosed.
While we’re big proponents of the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), it’s easy to wonder if MSM are putting themselves at more risk than they imagine by not using condoms…?