“Out of Control” Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States

Infection rates from some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including syphilis, have been rising for years. us United States.

Last year, new syphilis cases reached the highest level since 1991 and the total number of patients reached a maximum since 1948. The peak hit 26 percent.

The HIV case rate also increased by 16 percent last year.

The international smallpox outbreak has exacerbated the country’s problem with diseases transmitted mainly by sex.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, described the situation as being “out of control”.

For Mike Saag, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, increased condom use is critical to curbing STDs. “It’s quite simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people have more unprotected sex,” said Saag.


Syphilis is a bacterial disease that shows up in genital sores, but can progress to severe symptoms and death if left untreated.

In the 1940s, antibiotics stopped syphilis infections, and in 1998 the United States recorded fewer than 7,000 new cases. Starting in 2002, cases began to increase again, mainly identified in the homosexual and bisexual community. At the end of 2013, the escalation of cases exceeded 17 thousand.

In 2020, new infections reached almost 41,700 and increased last year to more than 52,000. The case rate is the highest in three decades.

Syphilis bacteria | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In addition to condom use decreasing, drug and alcohol use may have contributed to risky sexual behavior. The increase in sexual activity as people emerge from Covid-19 lockdowns will also have facilitated transmissions: “In the post-pandemic period, people felt free,” Saag suggested.

The advance of monkeypox has brought yet another concern to health authorities.

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In the United States, services began to redirect HIV and STD resources to combat the smallpox outbreak. But some experts argue that “Government needs to provide more funding for STD work, not divert it”.

home test

“It is imperative that we work to rebuild, innovate and expand STD prevention in the U.S.,” said Leandro Mena of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a speech on Monday at a medical conference on airborne diseases. sexual.

The expert group asked a federal investment of 500 million dollars for clinics that treat STDs and advocate new approaches to the problem, such as kits of home tests for some diseases that will make detection easier.

“People knowing they are infected will be able to take steps to prevent the spread”
argued Mena.

It also highlights that the development of kits homemade, in addition to reduction of patient stigma, facilitate triage services and rapid identification for treatment: “I imagine one day when I take the test [para doenças sexualmente transmissíveis] can be as simple and affordable as taking a home pregnancy test”.