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Is STD epidemic in US ‘out of control’!! Experts Warning!!

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Is STD epidemic in US ‘out of control’!! Experts Warning!!-GadgetAny
a rise in cases of syphilis and other STDs, condom use has been declining.

The sharply increasing incidences of certain sexually transmitted illnesses (including an increase of 26% in the number of new syphilis cases which were first reported in the year before — are making U.S. health officials to demand more treatment and prevention efforts.

“It is vital to … do our best to build innovation, improve, and expand (STD) treatment within the U.S.,” said Dr. Leandro Mena, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an address on today at an medical symposium on sexually transmitted infections.

A tissue sample with the presence of numerous, corkscrew-shaped, darkly-stained, Treponema pallidum spirochetes, the bacterium responsible for causing syphilis.
A tissue sample with the presence of numerous, corkscrew-shaped, darkly-stained, Treponema pallidum spirochetes, the bacterium responsible for causing syphilis.

Infection rates for a few STDs such as Syphilis and gonorrhea have been on the rise for many several years. In the year 2000, the number of syphilis cases hit the highest level since 1991, and the number of cases reached the highest level since 1948. HIV instances are increasing, up 16% this year..

Additionally, an outbreak that is international in the monkeypox virus, and being transmitted mostly to males who are sexually active with others and has highlighted the increasing problem of infections that are transmitted mostly through sex.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, described the situation as “out out of control.”

Unprotected sex leads to sexually transmitted infections
Unprotected sex leads to sexually transmitted infections

The government is working to develop novel ways to tackle the issue like kits that can be used at home for certain STDs which will help individuals to identify that they are infected and take precautions to stop it from spreading to other people, Mena said.

Another expert stated that a key component of any program is to focus on increasing the use of condoms.

“It’s fairly easy. Sexually transmitted infections increase when women are experiencing sexual encounters that are not protected,” said Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease specialist in Birmingham’s University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Men account for the most cases of syphilis, with the vast majority of those cases occurring among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) (Photo via CDC.gov)
Men account for the most cases of syphilis, with the vast majority of those cases occurring among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) (Photo via CDC.gov)

Syphilis Syphilis an infectious bacterial infection that appears as genital sores. It can eventually cause extreme symptoms and even death if untreated.

The number of new cases of syphilis exploded in the US from the 1940s onwards as antibiotics became more readily available. They dropped to their lowest levels ever in 1998 in which fewer than 7,000 cases were reported in the United States. It was reported that the CDC was so pleased with the improvements that it introduced an initiative to eradicate the spread of syphilis across the US.

New cases of syphilis infections declined during the 1940s when antibiotics became widely available (Photo via CDC)
New cases of syphilis infections declined during the 1940s when antibiotics became widely available (Photo via CDC)

However, in 2002, cases started increasing, mostly in gay and bisexual males and women, and they continued to increase. In the final months of 2013 CDC stopped its campaign to eliminate gays due to inadequate funding and the increasing number of cases. In 2013, the number of cases was more than 17,000.

In 2020, the number of cases had risen to more than 41,700, and the number jumped even more last year to over 52,000.

The incidence of the disease is rising, too reaching around 16 per 100,000 in the year prior. It was the highest level in more than three decades.

The highest rates are among men who are sexually active as well as the highest rates are among Black as well as Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. While the percentage of women’s sex is higher than that for men, officials have noted that it’s been rising faster — by approximately 50% over the past year.

 

It’s a connection to another issue that is the increase in congenital syphilis that is when mothers who are infected transmit the virus to their infants, possibly leading to the death of the child, or health issues like blindness, deafness or hearing loss. Congenital syphilis cases in the US were just 300 prior to the outbreak; however, they jumped to more than 2,700 cases in 2017. In the last year’s total 221 were stillbirths, or babies dying, Mena said.

The rise in syphilis and other STDs could be due to a variety of reasons experts believe. The efforts to prevent and test for STDs are hampered by years of insufficient funds, and spread could be getting worse particularly during the time of the pandemic due to delayed detection and subsequent treatment. Alcohol and drugs may contribute to unsafe sexual behaviour. Use of condoms is declining.

There could have been an increase in sexual activities after the release of COVID-19 lockdowns. “People feel more relaxed,” Saag said.

The outbreak of monkeypox has added to the burden. CDC recently sent a note to local and state health departments, stating the department’s HIV as well as STD resources can be utilized to tackle the monkeypox epidemic. Some experts suggest that the government should offer more money to support STD work, and not redirect it.

Harvey’s group as well as other health groups are pushing for additional federal funding with at least $500 million to fund STD clinics.

Mena who in 2013 was appointed director of the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC. Division of STD Prevention, demanded a reduction in stigma, expanding the scope of treatment and screening services as well as promoting the development and availability of testing at-home. “I imagine a day when testing (for STDs) can be just as easy and cost-effective as taking a home pregnant test” Mena told reporters.

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Omal J

By Omal J

I worked for both print and electronic media as a feature journalist. Writing, traveling, and DIY sum up her life.

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