UC Berkeley STD rates rise with national trends

Treponema pallidum the bacterium which causes syphilis

The state-by-state numbers were released as an extension of a broader report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking trends in sexually transmitted diseases.

The state's case rates of primary and secondary syphilis, congenital syphilis and gonorrhea improved from 2017 to 2018, showing the Louisiana Department of Health's efforts towards STD prevention are making a positive impact.

And, we came in at a close number 3, behind Texas and Nevada in cases of Congenital Syphilis.

In particular, rates of four STDs have been on the rise.

And a total of 583,405 gonorrhea cases were reported, a 63% increase since 2014 and the highest number reported in 28 years. This was an increase of 19% from 2014, and the most ever reported to the CDC. Taylor emphasized that these were number of cases, not individuals, as a person can be infected with multiple STDs or can be re-infected within a year with one or more STDs. "Testing is simple and can help women to protect their babies from syphilis - a preventable disease that can have irreversible consequences". Combine that with risk factors such as drug use and poverty, as well as reductions in STD awareness programs at both the state and local levels across the USA, and you have a recipe for record-breaking STD numbers.

According to data from the National Coalition of STD Directors, CDC's annual STI prevention budget decreased in purchasing power by 40% between 2003 and 2018.

According to the CDC, half of all new STD cases each year are estimated to be contracted by young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Of the three illnesses, syphilis has seen the most dramatic gains.

Bolan added that the current public health infrastructure "is exposing hidden, fragile populations in need [who] are not getting the health care and preventive services they deserve".

"It's very concerning", said John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

According to Hertin, increasing access to testing remains is a priority. "Without a radical shift in how we prioritize sexual health in the United States, we can only expect things to get worse" (Borter, Reuters, 10/8; Hellmann, The Hill, 10/8; AP/Modern Healthcare, 10/8; Barry-Jester, Kaiser Health News, 10/8).



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