2016 STD Surveillance Report: STDs Tighten Grip on Nation’s Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Health & Human Services
This year’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, 2016, released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marks the third year of overall increasing rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
While STDs can impact anyone, the new report underscores how disparities are deepening for the hardest-hit and most vulnerable groups:
- Youth aged 15-24 continue to make up most reported chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, and are now experiencing syphilis increases.
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to face the highest rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection. Data from the STD Surveillance Network (SSuN) also suggest gonorrhea rates have increased among MSM for five years.
- Pregnant women are experiencing some of the harshest outcomes from untreated STDs with the continued surge of congenital syphilis (CS) – where cases rise to numbers unseen since 1998.
The good news is that we can interrupt the steady climb in STD rates. Doing so means that we must fully commit to doing what works AND to better understanding the changing face of the epidemic, as well as the real-world challenges that can stand in the way of preventing STDs.
Bringing the growing STD burden to a halt requires action by many. For example:
- Here at CDC, we’ll continue monitoring national STD trends and for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea; providing the most up-to-date screening, treatment, and other prevention services guidance; and funding health departments to help support their work to prevent STDs.
- Health departments can continue to monitor and analyze their local STD burden; identify and link people with STDs and their partners to treatment and care; and disseminate up-to-date disease trends and clinical preventative resources to healthcare providers.
- Providers can take routine sexual histories, as well as test, rapidly diagnose, and treat patients and partners as CDC recommends.
Together, we can make a difference, but it will take all of us – CDC, health departments, healthcare providers, community organizations, and individuals.
Louisiana is working to be that difference. Their health officials are confronting, head on, some of the highest STD rates in the country.
By tackling their burden on multiple fronts, Louisiana is gaining ground in spite of an uphill battle. For example, with syphilis, they’ve increased testing and reduced time to treatment in public health clinics.
In 2016, the number of CS cases decreased for the first time in five years. With expanded extragenital gonorrhea and chlamydia testing, they also diagnosed 165 cases that would have otherwise been missed.
These budding achievements are a strong reminder to us all that good prevention remains in reach. Reversing our growing STD burden will take a lot of work, and it won’t happen overnight, but it is worth it.
At the end of the day, STD prevention is about more than stopping a single disease, it’s about safeguarding our quality of life. I know it. You know it. Let’s make sure that other people know it, too.
Here are some resources especially for you, as well as prevention materials you can share in your community:
CDC’s 2016 STD Surveillance Report website to find the report any related resources
Join the online conversation using #STDreport, and spread the word by retweeting @CDCSTD and sharing posts from the CDC STD Facebook page!
Gail Bolan, M.D. Director, Division of STD Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention