The number of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States has risen for the fifth consecutive year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control. The rise is attributed to multiple factors including, poverty, stigma, decreased condom use among vulnerable groups, and continued cuts to STD programs at the state and local level. Budget cuts have affected more than half of all local programs, according to the CDC, leading to the closure of clinics that test for STDs, and therefore making it difficult to test cases early. Left untreated, STDs can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and an increased risk for HIV.
The CDC has found an uptick in all three of the most commonly reported STDs: syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. From 2017 to 2018, there were more than 115,000 syphilis cases reported in the U.S., and the number of infectious syphilis cases rose to more than 35,000—the highest number reported since 1991. Undetected congenital syphilis can be deadly for babies when passed on through the womb. The number of newborn deaths attributed to congenital syphilis increased 22 percent in the past year, from 77 to 94 deaths. Cases of chlamydia increased three percent—more than 1.7 million cases—the most ever reported to CDC.