A new study shows that cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have reached record levels across the United States.
Three of America’s most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis — are more prevalent than ever before, according to a new report put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the new research, scientists from the agency found that more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in 2016. That is the highest case number for the three diseases since the agency began keeping data on them in 1941.
Of the three, chlamydia — which had 1.6 million new diagnoses last year — is the most common. In addition, nearly 470,000 people were diagnosed with gonorrhea, and 28,000 people had either primary or secondary syphilis.
All three of the diseases can be cured with antibiotics. However, if they are not properly treated they can cause larger health problems like infertility, stillbirths, life-threatening pregnancy complications, and an increased risk of contracting HIV.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, according to Live Science. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
Syphilis cases hit a record low 17 years ago. However, since that time rates have steadily jumped each year. Between 2015 and 2016, syphilis cases among women went up 36 percent, and there were roughly 630 cases of syphilis among newborns.
Gonorrhea — which has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics — also increased by about 18 percent from 2015 to 2016. The rates of chlamydia increased by roughly 5 percent during that time, and the disease continues to be the most common among adolescents and young adults.
Scientists hope the new information will help raise awareness about STD risk. Reducing the number of yearly infections is not going to be easy, but scientist believe it is possible if numerous organizations come together to help drop rising rates.
“Clearly we need to reverse this disturbing trend,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, according to CNN. “The CDC cannot do this alone and we need every community in America to be aware that this risk is out there and help educate their citizens on how to avoid it.”