Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are making an unwelcome comeback all across the United States. We are seeing especially problematic increases in syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
What is behind the amazing increase in disease? It is thought to be due to the fact that HIV is now becoming a manageable disease thanks to PReP, and HAART therapies, as well as due to the rise of apps like Grindr and Tinder for quick anonymous hookups.
What kind of increases are we seeing?
- Santa Barbara, reports indicate that there were only 10 cases of syphilis in 2012, and almost 40 cases in 2015. Gonorrhea doubled in 2015 (from 170 in 2012 to 334 cases in 2015). There were over 2300 cases of Chlamydia in 2015 as well (up 20%).
- Bakersfield had 28 babies diagnosed with congenital syphilis, with 6 children dying from the infection.
- the number of cases of syphilis rose from 1,682 in 2014 to 1,974 in 2015;
- chlamydia cases rose from 66,593 in 2014 to almost 70,000 cases in 2015,
- gonorrhea rose from 15,971 cases in 2014 to 17,130 in 2015.
- Had a 70% increase in syphilis, from 297 cases in 2014 to over 500 in 2015.
- Lubbock County Texas is under a syphilis alert due triple the number of cases as of the end of April of 2016 as there were in all of 2015.
- Las Vegas:
- Saw an increase of 128% in the number of cases of syphilis from 2014 to 2015
- There were 3993 cases of chlamydia reported in 2015 and 422 cases of gonorrhea. Based on numbers in for the first four months of the year, Maine is on track to surpass both those numbers in 2016.
- Wake County, NC:
- There was a 40% increase in cases of syphilis from 2014 to 2015.
The main populations where the increase is being detected in the highest percentages is in young adults and homosexual men. If you think that this is a problem only in America, there are also reports of the same thing happening in the UK, Sweden, Japan and Australia.
The majority of the time, these diseases can be treated with simple antibiotic therapy, but if untreated can lead to serious problems. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. If untreated, syphilis can cause blindness, neonatal disease and even death.
Word has got to go out. Young people and gay populations CAN control this with simple common sense precautions like condoms or knowing your sexual partner.
Safe sex is not something that should be thought of as only something reserved for HIV.