(Richard Harris/ NPR) — For the fourth year in a row, federal health officials report that there has been a sharp increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallied nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2017 — an increase of 200,000 cases over the previous year, and a record high.
Chlamydia, a bacterial infection, remained the most common sexually transmitted disease, with more than 1.7 million reported cases. But health officials are concerned that gonorrhea cases increased a startling 67 percent between 2013 and 2017, and syphilis climbed even faster — 76 percent over those four years.
After many years of success in controlling sexually transmitted diseases, “We’ve been sliding backwards,” says Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. She spoke at a news conference in Washington Tuesday.
“The U.S. continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world,” says David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, “and it preys on the most vulnerable among us.” (…)