Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to rise at an alarming rate in the United States, prompting some experts to warn that the situation is “out of control”.
Infection rates for STDs, including gonorrhea and syphilis, have been rising steadily for years.
But as the shutdowns ended after the peak of the pandemic, the so-called “summer of love” saw rates soar, prompting dire warnings from health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the number of syphilis in the United States has reached its highest level since 1991, up 26%, while HIV cases have also increased by 16% since last year.
Experts also said the current international outbreak of monkeypox, which is spreading primarily among men who have sex with men, further highlights the nation’s worsening problem, the New York Post reported.
With the number of STD cases exploding, health officials are urging people to practice safer sex or risk serious consequences.
Syphilis, a bacterial disease, begins painlessly but progresses to painful genital sores. If left untreated, it can lead to brain, nerve, eye or heart damage.
Symptoms of gonorrhea include painful urination and abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina.
“It’s quite simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people have more unprotected sex,” said Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama.
David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, agreed – calling the situation “out of control”.
Earlier this year doctors warned that “something had to change” as sexually transmitted infections in the country hit an all-time high.
One of the most alarming spikes is in congenital syphilis, which affects newborns who contract the disease from their mothers, which has jumped 235% in 2020 since 2016 according to the Washington Post.
However, there has been a 13% drop in chlamydia in the past 12 months, although experts fear this is due to reduced testing and delayed care during the pandemic.
Originally published as US STD epidemic is ‘out of control’, health experts warn