(StraightNews.org) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the US is on the brink of an “out of control” STD epidemic. Cases of gonorrhea and syphilis are both soaring, with gonorrhea up 28% in 2021 and syphilis up by 74% since 2017. The states most impacted are in the South – Mississippi is the worst affected with the highest rates per 100,000 residents.
Figures for 2021, the last year data was available, show that 2.5 million Americans suffered from STDs that year, an increase of 6% from 2020. Between 2020 and 2021, syphilis cases rose by 32%, including a 30% rise in congenital syphilis, which occurs when a mother passes the virus on to her unborn child. Congenital syphilis figures have surged by 750% since 2012.
Chlamydia rates are also up, with the highest number of infections among black Americans. Asians have the lowest rates at 95 per 100,000. Black people also have the highest gonorrhea rates, with 652 per 100,000, while Asians have the lowest at 37 per 100,000. Syphilis figures are highest among Native American and Native Alaskan populations, who also have the largest congenital syphilis rates.
STDs disproportionately affect racial minorities, people under the age of 25, and gay and bisexual men, according to the CDC.
Dr. Maria Alcaide, a professor of medicine at the University of Miami, said changes in behavior, a decrease in prevention and testing, and a decrease in condom use are driving the surge. She said the coronavirus pandemic also stretched figures as less help and advice was available during the period of 2020 to 2022.
Among the states, Mississippi is the worst affected, with 1,266 cases per 100,000 residents. In second place is Louisiana with 1,159, and the third is Alaska, followed by South Carolina, South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico, and North Carolina. The majority of cases – 51% – involve people under 25, and gay men account for 36%.
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