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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Touch An All-Time High In The US

Update Date: Nov 18, 2016 05:00 AM EST

The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) reported in 2015 in the US were higher than ever before, federal officials said on Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that more than 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia (which was up at nearly six percent since 2014), about 400,000 cases of gonorrhea (nearly at 13 percent), and about 24,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis (19 percent).

These three diseases are the most common STDs that are treatable with antibiotics, however, most cases continue to go undiagnosed potentially causing infertility and other problems. Health officials are particularly worried about an increase in the number of babies whose mothers suffering from syphilis are passing it to them in utero, which can result in stillbirths and infant deaths.

"While some of the new numbers may be due to better reporting of cases, most of the rise appears to be a real increase in new infections," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. CDC officials said that young people, members of racial minorities, gay and bisexual men account for many of the new cases. According to Dr. Mermin, half of all STDs occur in youth under age 20. CDC officials added that part of the increase may be due to better treatment for HIV, which makes people believe wrongly that they do not need to use condoms.

Health officials also pointed to state and local health departments losing funding as other possible reason. Dr. Mermin explained that eroding of infrastructure and clinics for sexually transmitted disease is corelated to the issue since the clinics are the primary places where health officials actually diagnose and treat STDs as well. He said in 2012 alone, half of state public health programs had to close some of the clinics.

Dr. Mermin also said that the rise of dating apps like 'Tinder' could also be contributing to the rising number of STDs. "But it's not completely clear, the cause and effect at this point," he ended.

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