The U.S. saw a record number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, marking the fourth straight year of sharp increases in gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diseases have seen a year-on-year rise for the last four, topping the record high set in 2016 by 200,000 to reach the 2.3 million mark in the US.
"Sadly, it's not a surprising trend", said Rob Stephenson, a professor and director of the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities at the University of MI in Ann Arbor, who was not involved in the new CDC research.
Syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent, from 17,375 cases to 30,664 cases.
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"We are sliding backward", declared Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the CDC's director of sexually transmitted diseases. Females between the ages of 15 and 24 made up 45 percent of the cases.
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But Fraser pointed out that the solution to the rising STD problem is not going to be "treating our way out of it", and that a solid public health infrastructure is also needed.
Gonorrhea cases in men almost doubled to 322,169 in 2017 compared with 2013, the CDC said.
"We maintain our bridges and roads, and we see them on TV when they crumble".
The most common condition reported to the CDC was chlamydia, with more than 1.7 cases diagnosed past year. Reported cases of three well-known STDs all increased between 2016 and 2017.
The trend is exacerbated by the fact that gonorrhea could soon become resistant to antibiotic treatment, the CDC said in a statement Tuesday.
It began recommending healthcare providers prescribe a single shot of ceftriaxone along with an oral dose of azithromycin - a prescription medication used to treat bacterial infections - to treat gonorrhea in 2015, in order to help delay the development of resistance to ceftriaxone. "We can't let our defenses down - we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible".