"STDs are out of control." So says the director of a coalition of state and local health departments aiming to prevent STDs after an alarming report from the CDC. It reveals the US saw a record number of new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for the second year in a row in 2016, reports the Los Angeles Times. New chlamydia cases were up 5% over 2015 to 1.6 million. But especially concerning was the 18.5% climb to 470,000 gonorrhea cases, given the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains, says the CDC's Gail Bolan. Cases of syphilis, once thought to be nearly eradicated in the US, likewise climbed 17.5% to 28,000, while cases of congenital syphilis were up nearly 28% to 628 cases, resulting in more than 40 newborn deaths, reports CNN.
That alone represents "an unconscionable situation in America today," David Harvey of the National Coalition of STD Directors tells CNN. But syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are only part of the problem. It's estimated that 20 million new cases of STDs, including HIV and herpes, appear in the US each year, half in those aged 15 to 24. Harvey blames "funding cutbacks for prevention, education and healthcare programs … particularly from this administration," though the data comes from 2016, as well as dating apps. The fact that many STDs present no symptoms is another issue, says Bolan. "We need every community in America to be aware that this risk is out there," she adds, noting, "everyone needs a yearly checkup." (Read more STDs stories.)