Sexual Health Check-In: U.S. Sees Concerning Increase In STIs
There has been a concerning increase in STIs and STDs across the nation in the last few years. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows a resurgence of sexually transmitted infections at worrying rates.
The amount of STIs, such as syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea, have increased, according to the new report. Overall, more than 2.5 million STIs were reported in the United States in 2021, marking a 7 percent increase between 2017 and 2021.
The record-high sexually transmitted infections and diseases pose a concerning threat. The report shows that a combination of a few things, including decreased use of condoms and lack of access to clinics that offer testing and screening, contributed to the increase. The report shows a 4 percent decrease in chlamydia, which is attributed to reduced screening. It also showed a 28 percent increase in gonorrhea and 74 percent increase in syphilis. Congenital syphilis among newborns increased by more than 203 percent.
What is Causing the Alarming Increase in Specific STIs?
The report shows that the most alarming spike was the increase in syphilis growing between 32 percent between 2020 and 2021. One of the potential causes for this increase is attributed to the pandemic. Maria Alcaide, an infectious diseases specialist, recently explained that “the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to the rising rates of STIs, as people may have had less access to education, testing, and treatment.”
Researchers at the CDC believe that the pandemic caused many people to delay or completely skip out on adequate services. This lead to a lower testing, which typically would act as a preventative method to spreading the STI.
Congenital syphilis also was an STI at the heart of the study’s most shocking statistics. Congenital syphilis is when mother’s pass on the infection to their babies during pregnancy. Some consequences [can you finish this thought and relate it to what caused this spike].
Other than the pandemic’s effects, some other causes for the increase in STIs. Some of these causes include social and economic barriers, a dismissal of condom use, an inability to access screenings, and opioid use.
Complications of Unchecked Congenital Syphilis
There are a variety of complications that come with not responding or noticing sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Health professionals explain that syphilis symptoms, such as rashes and lesions, can be asymptomatic. However, once these rashes and lesions clear, the infection could still be there. It is a myth that when the rash or lesion clears, the STI is gone entirely.
The CDC mentioned some precautions that mother’s should know when dealing with congenital syphilis. The first and most crucial step to take is to get a syphilis test at your first prenatal visit. If they test positive for syphilis, then they will need to get treatment immediately. This is to prevent further spread to the unborn child.
Congenital syphilis can have serious health repercussions. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirths, premature births and low birth weight. Babies born with congenital syphilis can suffer from skin rashes, jaundice, meningitis, deformed bones, severe anemia, and enlarged liver and spleen.
With more than 2,000 cases reported in 2021 alone, congenital syphilis is on the rise. Adequate protection and testing is a necessary to stop the increased spread of this disease.
Things to Take Away From the Study
The biggest takeaway from this study is to schedule follow-up check-ins at your local clinic when having sexual intercourse with a new partner. As part of sexual health routines, women should ass check-ups and screenings to maintain good sexual health. Without making these decisions, there are higher risks of suffering an STI or STD. This often can lead to serious complications.
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