Saturday Dec 3, 2022
Saturday Dec 3, 2022

‘Out of control’ STD has been sharply rising


Nepalnews
2022 Sep 26, 7:21, NEW YORK
This 1966 microscope photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a tissue sample with the presence of numerous, corkscrew-shaped, darkly-stained, Treponema pallidum spirochetes, the bacterium responsible for causing syphilis. U.S. health officials on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, are calling for a new push to prevent sexually transmitted diseases — spurred in part by a 26% increase in syphilis cases last year. (via AP)

Sharply rising cases of some sexually transmitted diseases — including a 26% rise in new syphilis infections reported last year — are prompting U.S. health officials to call for new prevention and treatment efforts.

Infections rates for some STDs, including gonorrhea and syphilis, have been rising for years. Last year the rate of syphilis cases reached its highest since 1991 and the total number of cases hit its highest since 1948. HIV cases are also on the rise, up 16% last year.

And an international outbreak of monkeypox, which is being spread mainly between men who have sex with other men, has further highlighted the nation’s worsening problem with diseases spread mostly through sex.

Officials are working on new approaches to the problem, such as home-test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others. Another expert said a core part of any effort must work to increase the use of condoms.

Syphilis is a bacterial disease that surfaces as genital sores but can ultimately lead to severe symptoms and death if left untreated.

By 2020 cases had reached nearly 41,700 and they spiked even further last year, to more than 52,000. The rate of cases has been rising, too, hitting about 16 per 100,000 people last year. That’s the highest in three decades.

Rates are highest in men who have sex with men, and among Black and Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. While the rate for women is lower than it is for men, officials noted that it’s has been rising more dramatically — up about 50% last year.

That ties to another problem — the rise in congenital syphilis, in which infected moms pass the disease on to their babies, potentially leading to death of the child or health problems like deafness and blindness. Annual congenital syphilis cases numbered only about 300 a decade ago; they surged to nearly 2,700 last year. Of last year’s tally, 211 were stillbirths or infant deaths.

The increases in syphilis and other STDs may have several causes, experts say. Testing and prevention efforts have been hobbled by years of inadequate funding, and spread may have gotten worse — especially during the pandemic — as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment. Drug and alcohol use may have contributed to risky sexual behavior. Condom use has been declining.

And there may have been a surge in sexual activity as people emerged from COVID-19 lockdowns. The arrival of monkeypox added a large additional burden. CDC recently sent a letter to state and local health departments saying that their HIV and STD resources could be used to fight the monkeypox outbreak. But some experts say the government needs to provide more funding for STD work, not divert it.

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out of control STD sharply rising new syphilis infections gonorrhea prevention and treatment efforts monkeypox
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