Rates Of Chlamydia, Syphilis & Gonorrhea Skyrocket

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
Just in case you needed another reminder to get your usual STI testing taken care of, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn in a new report that the "alarming" rise of STIs in the U.S. has become a "hidden epidemic."

The report, released this week, plots the rise of several common STIs throughout 2014. Three major STIs — chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea — all saw increases in 2014 from the previous year. Chlamydia, with 1,441,789 instances in 2014, is the disease most commonly reported to the CDC. The rate of chlamydia rose 2.8% from 2013.

The rate of syphilis in 2014 rose as well, and the report states that this was largely fueled by increasing rates of the infection among gay and bisexual men. Overall, syphilis occurrences increased by 22.7% for women and 14.4% for men. According to the report, the high rate in women is particularly concerning because, should those women give birth after infection, they can pass on a version of syphilis to their children. Indeed, cases of congenital syphilis have risen 27.3% since 2013.

And although 2009 saw an all-time-low rate of gonorrhea in the States, that has started to climb back up, rising about 5% since 2013. Interestingly, the rate of gonorrhea in men is rising faster than in women, and about 24,000 more cases were reported in 2014 in men than in women.

So how do we get those rates back down? "The first hurdle will be to confront the reluctance of American society to openly confront issues surrounding sexuality and STDs," says the report, and that's proving to be harder than we might think. Despite the fact that STIs are so common (we've actually seen a rise of dating sites specifically for people who have them), we're still squeamish and embarrassed about discussing these topics, even with the people closest to us. So, the first step in keeping everyone healthy is starting a conversation.
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