Sexually Transmitted Diseases In America Hit Record High For Sixth Consecutive Year

by : Emily Brown on :
Sexually Transmitted Diseases In America Hit Record High For Sixth Consecutive YearShutterstock/PA

Reports of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) continue to rise the United States as cases hit a record high for the sixth year in a row.

The findings come from new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month, which detailed reported annual cases of STDs.


Looking at reports from 2019, the CDC found cases reached an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, with 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis nationwide, an increase of nearly 30% since 2015 for the reportable diseases.

The STD that saw the sharpest increase was congenital syphilis, contracted when syphilis is transmitted from mothers to their newborns, as reports nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2019.

Raul Romaguera, acting director for CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, drew focus on the severity of the issue as he noted that ‘less than 20 years ago, gonorrhea rates in the US were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and advances in chlamydia diagnostics made it easier to detect infections.’


In a press release, he commented: ‘That progress has since unraveled, and our STD defenses are down. We must prioritize and focus our efforts to regain this lost ground and control the spread of STDs.’


Racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and young people were among the worst impacted by the increase in STDs, with rates for African American or Black people being five-to-eight times that of non-Hispanic White people.

American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander people were three-to-five times that of non-Hispanic White people, while rates for Hispanic or Latino people were one-to-two times that of non-Hispanic White people.


Meanwhile, gay and bisexual men accounted for nearly half of all 2019 primary and secondary syphilis cases, and gonorrhoea rates were 42 times that of heterosexual men in some areas. Young people aged between 15–24 years made up 61% of chlamydia cases and 42% of gonorrhoea cases.

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Jo Valentine, associate director of the Office of Health Equity in CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, stressed the importance of focusing on ‘hard-hit populations’ to help reduce disparities.

She said:


To effectively reduce these disparities, the social, cultural, and economic conditions that make it more difficult for some populations to stay healthy must be addressed. These include poverty, unstable housing, drug use, lack of medical insurance or regular medical provider, and high burden of STDs in some communities.

Though the CDC’s report focuses on data from 2019, the organisation notes that preliminary 2020 data suggests many of the concerning trends continued the following year.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Health, America, CDC, Now, US


Centers for Disease Control
  1. Centers for Disease Control

    Reported STDs Reach All-time High for 6th Consecutive Year