U.S. sexually transmitted disease hit another high

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On Tuesday the CDC released its "Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2016" report. The rate of gonorrhea was twice as high in men than women. "STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond".

"Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat", Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement.

The three most common diseases include syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Men who have sex with men account for the majority of syphilis infections in the US in 2016
Center for Disease Control Men who have sex with men account for the majority of syphilis infections in the US in 2016

The diseases are treatable with antibiotics.

To combat the rising rates of STDs, Sacramento County health officials have convened the Sacramento Workgroup to Improve Sexual Health, a collection of representatives from community groups, local school districts and healthcare providers. The disease disproportionately affects young women and can result in pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility if left untreated, according to the CDC. Since these women don't need a prescription for birth control refilled, there might be years between their ob/gyn visits.

In its report, CDC researchers speculate that the rise in STD rates among men who have sex with men could be partly due to a rise in condomless sex. It's recommended that anyone who is sexually active get screened regularly.

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Congenital syphilis is the term used to describe the disease when it's passed along from mother to child in the womb. "It is devastating to newborn babies".

Syphillis is the most serious std caused by bacteria. "It's a mess and the rise in congenital syphilis is the effect", she said. The statewide statistics show that gonorrhea cases rose by 22 percent among men, mostly among those 25 to 29 years of age. Babies born with syphilis increased by 27.5 percent.

80% of primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses were men who have sex with men (MSM). Again, a large proportion of this was men who have sex with men.

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Commenting on the statistics, Dr Gail Bolan, of the CDC, said, 'Not that long ago, gonorrhea rates were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and we were able to point to advances in STD prevention, such as better chlamydia diagnostic tests and more screening, contributing to increases in detection and treatment of chlamydial infections.

Improving access to maternal care for the poorest and most vulnerable women in the US would help close some of these gaps in care, but Adalja points out that shame, fear and misunderstanding about STDs are still major medical barriers, even for doctors who may decide not to test a prenatal patient for STDs because she doesn't "seem" at risk.

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