“It is imperative that we… work to rebuild, innovate, and expand [STD] prevention in the U.S.,” Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a speech Monday at a medical conference on sexually transmitted diseases, the Associated Press reported.
Solutions include home test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others, said Mena.
But Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said a core part of efforts must be to increase condom use.
“It’s pretty simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people are having more unprotected sex,” Saag said.
The monkeypox outbreak has added another layer of concern, because the virus has been spreading largely between men who have sex with men.
Public health organizations and the National Coalition of STD Directors are calling for more federal funding, including $500 million for STD clinics.
Mena suggested reducing stigma, broadening screening and treatment, and supporting the development of at-home testing.
“I envision one day where getting tested [for STDs] can be as simple and as affordable as doing a home pregnancy test,” Mena said.
While syphilis cases dropped sharply with the availability of antibiotics in the 1940s, rates of the infection last year reached their highest since 1991. The total number of cases reached its highest level since 1948.
At one point, infection rates had been so low the CDC planned to work to eliminate the disease, but the agency discarded those plans in 2013 as case numbers continued to grow, the AP reported.
Cases have been rising since 2002, primarily in gay and bisexual men. In 1998, there were only 7,000 new syphilis cases nationwide. By 2021, that number was 52,000, the AP reported.
The rate of cases was 16 per 100,000 people last year, with the highest rates in men who have sex with men and in Black and Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, the AP reported.
Women have typically had a lower rate than men, but it rose 50% last year.
Syphilis causes genital sores. The bacterial infection can lead to severe symptoms and death without treatment.
Congenital syphilis, which passes the infection between a pregnant woman and her baby, can lead to loss of sight, hearing and even death in a newborn. Last year, congenital syphilis cases reached 2,700, including 211 infants who were stillborn or died. That’s a sharp increase from 300 cases annually a decade ago, the AP reported.
Infection rates for gonorrhea have also been increasing for years, while HIV cases were up 16% in 2021, the AP reported.
It is “out of control,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the AP.
Reasons for the increase range from inadequate funding for testing and prevention to delayed diagnosis during the pandemic. Condom use has also been declining, while drug and alcohol use may have reduced inhibitions. Increases may also be linked to a surge in sexual activity after COVID-19 lockdowns.
Her mother sold her for drugs when she was 14. Now, she spends her life rescuing fellow trafficking victims
DALLAS, TX – It took Tonya Stafford years to return to Bradshaw Street in southern Dallas.
When she finally did, about eight years ago, she felt afraid.
“It was a lot of emotions that came back,” she said. “Because I thought of everything that had happened.”
Stafford lived in two separate houses on this street – although “lived” is a generous term.
She survived. That’s a better way to put it.
Located just feet apart, those Bradshaw Street houses are the first and second homes Stafford lived in with the man who purchased her from her mother when she was 14 years old. They’re the first two homes in which she was held captive, raped and abused for years.
“I was sold from the projects… the Turner Courts Projects,” Stafford said.
She’d been living their with her siblings, her mother and her mother’s husband. Stafford’s mother had been in an out of their lives, while living with addiction. She regained custody of Stafford and her siblings when Stafford was eight years old. Up until then, they’d been living with their grandmother.
“It wasn’t something that was hidden from us,” Stafford said of her mother’s troubles. “Big Momma always just told us to respect her. If we saw her walking down the street in South Dallas, we respected our mom.”
Stafford said her mother had started to do better when she regained custody, but the man she married was an addict and abusive.
“He immediately started raping us and molesting us,” Stafford said. “So, that’s how our life took a turn for the worse.”
When Stafford and her siblings told her mother about the abuse, she said her mother’s husband claimed the children were trying to break them up. She believed him.
Stafford said the family was also homeless for months at a time and bounced from hotel to hotel.
“He would get a room for them and a room for us,” Stafford said. “Then he would get a room to take us into.”
Even then, Stafford still had hope.
“I wasn’t pregnant,” she said. “I was an A student. I was really smart. My mentality was to make it out and never come back.”
Eventually, her family ended up at the Turner Courts housing project in southern Dallas, where Stafford said she and her siblings were allowed to freely come and go as they pleased, as long as they were home by dark.
She said she remembered she’d hang out with a neighbor, a women in her early 20s who was married and had kids. Around that time, Stafford also remembered, she started noticing the man who’d become her abuser hanging around the neighborhood.
“I remember seeing him but not really paying attention cause I was playing with [my neighbor’s’] kids,” Stafford said. “I didn’t know he had already started inquiring about us. Who was I? ‘Who’s her momma? What does that look like?’ They told him, ‘Her mom’s on drugs, and they don’t really care about them.’ He found his prey. I was his prey.”
One night, when she was 13, Stafford said she was at her neighbor’s house, drinking what she thought was soda. The man was there too. Once she’d had a bit of what she later realized were wine coolers, she said she didn’t feel good. She remembered the man telling her she couldn’t go home drunk.
She said he raped her that night.
“I got up, I put my clothes on, I went back to our apartment,” Stafford said. “I didn’t say anything.”
A few weeks later, Stafford started feeling sick – and quickly realized she was pregnant.
“My daughter was born in 1988 in Mesquite Community Hospital,” she said.
Stafford was 14. The father of her new baby was more than 10 years older.
Court documents provided to WFAA showed that Tonya was interviewed by a case worker who was investigating her mother and stepfather for child abuse involving another sibling. The report detailed that Tonya was pregnant and that the father of her child was substantially older than she was. The case worker noted that she asked Tonya if her mother had anything to do with what she referred to as her “relationship” with an older man, but never probed into any questions about abuse or the situation being troublesome.
“I knew then that we weren’t going to be saved,” Stafford said.
A few months after her daughter was born, Stafford said she was playing outside with other kids and had come back in to her house for some water when she noticed her belongings and her baby’s things had been packed up and placed by the door.
“She [her mother] said, ‘You got to go,'” Stafford said. “I asked why: ‘Did I do something wrong? Did I not clean up good enough? What did I do?’ She just said again, ‘You got to go.’ She pointed outside, and I saw his car waiting. So, I took a deep breath, and I got in the car.”
Stafford said she went to live with with her abuser in his grandmother’s house – one of the homes on Bradshaw Street – where she was repeatedly raped and beaten. After a year, she said they moved a few houses down on the same street. A couple of years later, they moved to Pleasant Grove.
Stafford said she’d continuously tried calling her mother during this time, but never got an answer. Eventually, she learned that her mother had changed phone numbers. While she lived on Bradshaw Street, Stafford was just a few blocks from her family and the school she would have attended had she been able to leave the house.
“I really only left to go to church,” Stafford said.
She said her abuser took her to church every Sunday and Wednesday.
“I remember telling someone he was raping me, and they told me not to say that,” Stafford said. “The first lady told me I should be glad someone bought me.”
Stafford said she lived with her abuser for 10 years. During that stretch, she gave birth to two more children of his children. She said no one at any of the hospitals ever questioned their situation.
“I don’t think they wanted to get involved,” Stafford said.
She was 24 when her life changed. She has her neighbor to thank for that.
“She was the nosey neighbor,” Stafford said. “She’d seen something. She said something. And she did something.”
Stafford said her neighbor had noticed abuse in the home, and had spoken to her about it. “Our cue was, if it gets bad, throw something out the window – or just come out and she’ll call the police,” Stafford said.
On the day she was rescued, Stafford said the abuse was particularly bad.
“He was angry,” Stafford said of her abuser. “He was angry. He just kept saying, I’m going to kill you.'”
Stafford said she’d gone to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and threw some things out of the window. She said she tried to climb out of the window, too, but her abuser heard her, kicked down to the door, pulled her back into the house and threw her into the hallway. “I asked him if I could go put my kids up, and I could come back and he could kill me,” Stafford said. “He said no, and he started choking me unconscious. And that’s all I remembered. I woke up. My neighbor was kneeling next to me, and she was crying.”
Stafford said her neighbor heard the commotion and called the police. By the time officers arrived, her abuser had run away. Stafford and her children were taken to a shelter for domestic violence survivors in Irving.
“I got to be safe, and then I started therapy,” Stafford said. “I love therapy.”
She still goes to therapy every Tuesday.
“It’s the first time I couldn’t lie,” Stafford said. “I had to be honest about everything. My kids got therapy too. I think that’s ultimately what saved me. I had never just been around a bunch of women.”
These women affirmed Stafford’s beauty, value and purpose.
When she finally was able to take her attacker to court, Stafford said the judge apologized to her for a healthcare system and an education system that “failed” her.
“Then he said, “And I’m sorry, I have to fail you too,'” Stafford said. “The statute of limitations had been reached.”
She was able to get a protection order – one that’s still in place – because of the domestic violence, but her attacker was never charged for the sexual abuse. In fact, he was granted visitation with her children.
Stafford’s story is a hard one to hear, but it laid the foundation for the life-saving work she does now.
In 2014, Stafford started It’s Going to Be Okay Inc, an organization that helps rescue, house and heal survivors of human trafficking. She now operates four safe houses for survivors across Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We’re providing direct services to human trafficking victims of all races and colors, but particularly Black girls,” Stafford said.
These are girls, Stafford said, that often go missing without extensive media coverage or resources devoted to finding them.
They’re girls like her.
Her story, Stafford said, is not entirely the same as the cases she deals with now. But the foundations of trauma and abuse are the same.
“When you’re dealing with past trauma, it effects your post-trauma,” Stafford said. “It’s how [these girls] are so susceptible to trafficking. It’s the cycle of trauma, the generational trauma.”
Stafford’s work has been recognized around the country. She works with local, state and federal law enforcement to help rescue trafficking victims and offer services to help them rebuild their lives.
She was recently recognized by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for her efforts, and even received an honorary doctorate for her work.
“When I come across girls who look like me – the forgotten girls – and they say, ‘Ms. Tonya, thank you for coming, and thank you for providing what probably wouldn’t have been provided,’ that is my why,” Stafford said.
So, now, when Stafford finds herself on Bradshaw Street, she sees survival.
“I survived for them,” she said. “I survived for me. I survived for my children. And not only am I surviving, I’m thriving.”
OK My Friends, I have some information every one of you need to know, and I pray all of you have a very serious talk with every Parent and Child in your circle of Friends, and inform your Stewards (Preachers, Pastors, Reverands, etc…).
Following this post, I will be reposting a very important post from our website, which has all the information, and the resources to back everything I say here today, and leave no doubts.
People, the fake news network is setting up a very dangerous situation for every man, woman, and Child in our country, and Mexico, and Canada included.
In the last 2 days I have seen with my own eyes, where stats and vital information has been changed to put all of us at ease about a very serious STD/STI Pandemic we have been in for at the very least 10 years, and in my opinion, more like 20 years, but in 2012, this thing exploded.
In 2017 the CDC released a CALL TO ACTION for Syphilis. It had numbers higher than they had ever been in the last 30 years.
On March 6, 2017, the CDC released a CALL TO ACTION for Drug Resistant Gonorrhea.
Since the old days, there have been just 5 antibiotics/Drugs that had any affect on Gonorrhea, and none of the 5 had little or no effect on SUPER-GONORRHEA, it was wearing a SuperMan cape now.
My Friends, you will understand more when you read my post… But, at this point I have no choice but tell you all that the above information is fake news put out by the CDC.
After publicizing the above information and more, I could not sleep that night about a year ago… So I turned on my computer, and when booted, it opened on our military blog,
My computer opened on THE DUFFEL BAG, and specifically on a blog post from 2012… October 2012 – DRUG RESISTANT GONORRHEA – 8,000 SAILORS.
That is all of that post I will list here, but this is no joke, nor laughing matter…. It took millions of dollars to attempt to treat these HEROES of Our Country.
But the fact remains, the CDC lied.
And even now, go check their website, and read the fake news about these 2 STDs and HIV/AIDS.
The numbers are at the highest level ever, but it is much worst than this.
HIV/AIDS IS NOT/and will never be stamped out.
HIV/AIDS is at the very least 50% or even much higher than listed, and there is no stats on Children 1-13.
Also, Obama opened it up for gay men to give blood, then after that, for the last 4 or more years hospitals make patients sign a no law suit order in case they contract HIV/AIDS while hospitalized.
This year alone 10,000,000 young people 13 – 23 will contract one(1) or more STD or STI.
35-45% of teens have Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Girls 15 -19 have highest rate of Gonorrhea and 2nd highest rate of Chlamydia of any age group.
Our Dear Mighty GOD is not asleep on the mountain….
Senator Diane Sands, so in your opinion Children have no rights. Child Predators should have never been allowed near Children. Robert StrongBow
HELENA, MT – The Montana Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance two bills targeting transgender youth despite overwhelming testimony opposing the measures.
The measures would ban gender affirming surgeries for transgender minors and ban transgender athletes from participating in school and college sports.
Both bills have already passed the Montana House. They head next to votes by the GOP-controlled Montana Senate.
The measures passed votes by the committee along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
“This is one of the most hateful heinous bills this session has ever considered, and I’m ashamed of us,” Democratic Sen. Diane Sands said Thursday on the bill banning gender affirming surgeries for transgender minors.
Earlier this week, the committee heard overwhelming testimony opposing the measures from medical providers, human rights activist and students in the state. They said the measures could harm the mental and physical health of an already vulnerable group.
Proponents of the measures said they would protect minors from undergoing irreversible surgeries they may later regret and would protect female athletes from competing against athletes with an unfair physical advantage.
“Transgender people deserve full human rights. But there is no human right to female sport, just like there is no human right for me to participate in a junior high school wrestling team,” Republican Rep. John Fuller, who sponsored both measures, said during a hearing on Wednesday.
Bills banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports have been introduced in more than 20 states this year. Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed such a ban last week.
In South Dakota, a similar bill was passed by Legislature. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has expressed support for it but has not signed the bill. A similar ban was enacted in Idaho last year, and quickly blocked by a federal judge as a lawsuit plays out.
Bills banning gender affirming medical treatments for minors have been introduced in at least a dozen other states, but none have been signed into law.