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U.S. STD Rates Rise in Men

Update Date: Jan 11, 2014 10:41 AM EST

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new statistics revealing an increased rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the report, the STDs, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, have risen only in men. The majority of the men identify themselves as gay or bisexual.

The CDC analysis focused on STD rates in 2012. Overall, the agency calculated that there were roughly 20 million new cases of STDs per year. The researchers reported that over 50 percent of the cases occurred in people aged 15 to 24. The infection rates increased significantly in two specific STDs, which were syphilis and gonorrhea.

The report found that syphilis rates have risen by 11 percent with about 107.5 diagnosed cases out of 100,000. Gonorrhea rates have increased by four percent with about five cases per 100,000 people. Rates of chlamydia only increased by a small one percent. All three venereal diseases can be easily treatable with antibiotics if sexually active people get tested regularly. When these infections are left undiagnosed and untreated, severe symptoms could occur.

"We know that having access to high-quality health care is important to controlling and reducing STDs," Gail Bolan, the director of the CDC's STD prevention unit, said according to the San Francisco Gate. "Some of our more-vulnerable populations don't have access. There are a number of men who come in to our clinic for confidential services because they're too embarrassed to see their primary care doctors."

STDs cost the U.S. health-care system roughly $16 billion a year. In order to reduce costs and infection rates, people should practice safe sex and get regular check ups. The researchers reasoned that since gay and bisexual men are often stigmatized for carrying venereal diseases, these groups of men might not want to get tested out of fear that they will fulfill that stereotype.

"With most of these populations, having a sexually transmitted disease from having sex with another man is highly stigmatized," epidemiology professor from the University of California at San Francisco, George W. Rutherford, said. "They'd rather not get tested for HIV, syphilis, or whatever. They don't want it to show up on their records."

The officials stress that regardless of one's track record, it is very important to get tested and treated. This way, STDs do not continue to spread.

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