The STD Issue Is Out Of Control, Which Makes Reforms Necessary In The U.S.

The STD Issue Is Out Of Control, Which Makes Reforms Necessary In The U.S.

U.S. health officials are calling for expanded preventive and treatment measures as rates of some sexually transmitted diseases are sharply increasing, including a 26% increase in new syphilis infections reported last year.

Experts Voice

In a statement delivered on Monday at a medical conference on sexually transmitted diseases, Dr. Leandro Mena of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “It is essential that we… fight to rebuild, innovate, and expand (STD) prevention in the U.S.

Some STDs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, have increased infection rates in recent years. Last year, the rate and total syphilis cases reached record highs dating back to 1948 and 1991, respectively. HIV cases have increased as well, rising 16% last year.

Additionally, an international outbreak of monkeypox, which is primarily affecting men who have sex with other men, has brought attention to the country’s growing issue with diseases that are primarily transmitted through sex.

The problem is “out of control,” according to David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.

According to Mena, authorities are working on new solutions to the issue, such as home-testing kits for specific STDs that will make it simpler for people to discover whether they are sick and take action to stop the infection from spreading.

Another expert stated that increasing condom use must be a key component of any attempt.

“It’s pretty easy. More STDs develop when people engage in more unprotected intercourse, according to Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is typically transmitted through sexual contact. A sore on the lips, genitalia, or rectum is frequently where the illness first manifests itself. Syphilis can spread from one person to another through touching lesions on the skin or mucous membranes.

After the first infection, the syphilis bacteria can lay dormant in the body for decades before reawakening. On rare occasions, early syphilis can be cured with a single penicillin dose.

If untreated, syphilis can be fatal because it harms the heart, brain, and other organs. Syphilis can also be passed from mothers to their unborn children.

As soon as antibiotics were made widely accessible in the 1940s, the number of new cases of syphilis in the U.S. drastically decreased. By 1998, when less than 7,000 new cases were reported nationally, they had reached their lowest level ever. The CDC established a campaign to eradicate syphilis in the United States after being inspired by the progress.

However, by 2002, cases started to increase once more, mostly among gay and bisexual males, and they continued. Due to a lack of money and an increase in cases that year that reached 17,000, the CDC terminated its elimination campaign in the latter part of that year.


The symptoms of syphilis change as it progresses through different stages. The symptoms don’t always manifest in the same order, and the stages sometimes overlap. It’s possible to have syphilis without ever experiencing any symptoms.

A tiny sore known as a chancre is the initial symptom of syphilis (SHANG-kur). At the site where the germs entered your body, a sore develops. Most syphilis patients only experience one chancre but occasionally experience multiple ones.

Typically, the chancre appears three weeks after exposure. Because the chancre is typically painless and can be concealed within the vagina or rectum, many persons with syphilis fail to discover their condition. Within three to six weeks, the chancre will naturally heal.

Growing Cases

Nearly 41,700 instances were reported by 2020, and last year they increased even further, to more than 52,000.

Additionally, the incidence rate has increased, reaching 16 per 100,000 persons last year. It’s the highest level in thirty years.

The rates are higher among men who have sex with other men and Native Americans, Black, and Hispanic Americans. Officials observed that although the rate for women is lower than the rate for men, it has been rising more sharply, by almost 50% last year.

That relates to another issue: the rise in congenital syphilis, in which infected mothers transmit the illness to their unborn children, potentially causing death or health issues, including blindness and deafness. A decade ago, there were only approximately 300 annual occurrences of congenital syphilis; last year, that figure rose to about 2,700. According to Mena, 211 of the total from last year were stillbirths or infant deaths.


Syphilis has the potential to spread at any stage and harm the brain, neurological system, and eye, among other organs.

Syphilis and other STD rates may be rising for various reasons, according to specialists. Years of underfunding have hindered testing and preventive efforts, and the spread may have worsened due to postponed diagnosis and treatment – particularly during the epidemic. Risky sexual activity may have been influenced by drug and alcohol usage. The use of condoms has been falling.

Don’t Divert

It’s possible that a spike in sexual activity occurred as persons left COVID-19 lockdowns. People are freed, according to Saag.

The advent of monkeypox resulted in a significant increase in burden. In a recent letter to state and local health authorities, the CDC suggested using its HIV and STD resources to combat the monkeypox outbreak. However, some experts contend that the government should increase funding for STD research rather than divert it.

Harvey’s group and several other public health organizations promote a plan for more excellent federal financing, including at least $500 million for STD clinics.