Three STDs reach record high in US

This 1975 file microscope

This 1975 file microscope

The number of Americans who were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) previous year rose to a record high, US health officials said on Tuesday, partly because funding for local health departments has dropped.

CDC epidemiologist, Elizabeth Torrone, said, "Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in past year alone".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its 2018 STD Surveillance report, which revealed that after five straight years of dramatic increases, the Unites States saw an all-time high of sexual transmitted illness rates. There were 188 cases of gonorrhea reported and 29 cases of early syphilis. But there are some disparities, with the highest number of cases reported among people between the ages of 15-24, African-Americans, and those who are gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with other men, according to the department.

The CDC writes that "urgent action from all types of stakeholders is needed to help control the increases in STDs", and says that it is working to develop a federal action plan to stop the rise in rates. Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor.

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But what was particularly concerning for health officials was the number of congenital syphilis diagnoses which rose 14% from the previous year and increased for a sixth consecutive year. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported - also the most since 1991.

The CDC's annual STD prevention budget decreased in purchasing power by 40% from 2003 to 2018, according to data released by the National Coalition of STD Directors, an association of local health officials.

The increases coincided with public health funding cuts and clinic closures.

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