According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were a record-high 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017.
Almost 2.3 million STDs were diagnosed past year, which is a record number.
Experts say there are a number of factors that have caused the spike in STD cases, but many experts point to less frequent condom use as one of the main reasons.
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To put it bluntly, as Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, did in a CDC press release: "We are sliding backward". Chlamydia was the worst offender with 1.7 million new cases, and about 45 percent of those to contract the STD were women between the ages of 15 and 24.
Diagnosed cases of gonorrhea increased 67 percent from 333,004 to 555,608 and almost doubled among men, rising from 169,130 to 322,169.
Increases in gonorrhea among women "are also concerning", said the CDC report, with cases going from 197,499 to 232,587 in a single year from 2016-2017.
The CDC is urging doctors to stem the spread of STDs by promoting frank discussion of the infections, testing patients for STDs and promptly treating any cases they find.
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In the previous year, cases of primary and secondary syphilis grew more than 10%.
For the fourth year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control is reporting record high numbers of people getting STDs.
The CDC notes that these STDs are curable with antibiotics but often go undiagnosed and untreated, which can lead to severe health problems, including infertility.
The finding adds concerns that azithromycin-resistant genes in some gonorrhea could crossover into strains of gonorrhea with reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone - and that a strain of gonorrhea may someday surface that does not respond to ceftriaxone.
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"We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed", Bolan said.