The number of STD cases had unprecedented growth in the U.S. in 2015, based on new data. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have been recorded in a worrying rate, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report published Oct. 20 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Among the diseases, there were 1.5 million cases of chlamydia (5.9 percent increase), approximately 400,000 people infected with gonorrhea (12.8 percent increase), and about 24,000 Americans infected with primary and secondary syphilis, registering a 19 percent and the most dramatic increase from 2014 to 2015.
"STD rates are rising, and many of the country's systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services — or the human and economic burden will continue to grow," explained Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for STD prevention in the press release.
One of the factors that may have contributed to the increase could be the budget cuts that led to more than 20 STD-specialized clinics closing in just one year. Limited access to proper medical care and awareness can result in lack of information which, in turn, will contribute to unprotected sexual intercourses, according to the report.
All three diseases can be cured with the proper treatment and antibiotics, but access to early information and testing could significantly reduce the infection rates. Moreover, should these diseases remain untreated, they can lead to life-altering consequences, including death.
The two most exposed categories to the risks of these illnesses are young people and bisexual men. Preventive measures would be most effective since, according to CDC estimates, the treatment for sexually transmitted diseases costs the American government no less than $ 16 billion annually.
"Working-age adults (19 years to 64 years) had higher uninsured rates. The rates of non-insured for non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics were: 7.6 percent, 11.8 percent, and 19.9 percent, respectively," according to the report.
Additionally, the paper also advises STD counseling, especially among teens, young adults and high-risk adults. Although the healthcare reports show consistent improvements among the insured citizens of the U.S., there still are disparities for some of the most affected categories, which could lead to further increase of the reported cases.
Among the categories that are most exposed to STDs are minority and racial ethnic groups, who cannot afford the basic necessities and could find it difficult to access proper healthcare services regarding sexual issues.
"The poverty rate for Whites was 10.1 percent (19.7 million), for Blacks it was 26.2 percent (or 10.8 million), and for Hispanics it was 23.6 percent (or 13.1 million). People who struggle financially are often experiencing life circumstances that potentially increase their risk for STDs," explained the study.