Several states across the United States have reported sharp increases in rates of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Duluth saw an increase in HIV infection as well as syphilis, homelessness and drug dependence.
With syphilis, men who have sex with men (MSM) and those with HIV had the largest increase in cases.
People of color are disproportionately affected. Khaled Bou Sbeit, MN STD Surveillance Coordinator, said: “Disparities and rates of STDs It is not explained by differences in sexual behavior, but is due to differences in health insurance coverage, employment status and access to health care with prevention, screening and treatment services.” The CDC echoes thatand differences in sexual network characteristics.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexually transmitted diseases is not entirely clear. The CDC . Reports that at the end of 2020, primary and secondary gonorrhea and syphilis cases had increased by 10% and 7%, respectively, compared to 2019. Congenital syphilis cases had increased by nearly 15% from 2019 and 235% from 2016. But chlamydia, which is usually a leader in sexually transmitted diseases, is down 13% from 2019. The decline is believed to be due to reduced physician services and the availability of tests. During the height of Covid, public health services were devastated, with every backup person turning to work on Covid.
Add that most early sexually transmitted infections don’t show symptoms. This increases the possibility that the disease will spread between sexual partners or that the infection will be at a later stage, and be more difficult to treat. With syphilis, in particular, while the early stages are asymptomatic, later infections can affect the nervous system, heart, brain, eyes, and more. It has been namedGreat imitatorIt can mimic many other diseases.
Although absolute numbers decreased, the most alarming increases were in cases of congenital syphilis – where the baby acquires the infection from the mother during pregnancy. The The Center for Disease Control says Syphilis among newborns (for example, congenital syphilis), with cases up about 15% from 2019 and 235% from 2016.
Congenital syphilis is 100% preventable if the mother is treated during pregnancy. If not, the baby may die in the womb or be born with severe neurological problems.
This is why some states have required that pregnant women be tested when they first attend antenatal care and during the third trimester. Unfortunately, many women are not tested. In Indiana, 19% of women were not tested for syphilis at any time during pregnancy. Only 27% of high-risk women were tested at childbirth. Even worse, only 9% were tested at birth. Why are basic standards not followed in prenatal care?
Caroline Chen wrote a file Best article on syphilis. In it, she cited Dr. Tom Frieden as we were going through a “deadly cycle of panic and neglect” where emergencies push officials to scramble and throw money to solve a problem — whether it’s Ebola, Zika or COVID-19. And then, as the fear subsides, so does the interest and motivation to finish the job.”
Recently, there was Covid. Public health officials will now need to focus on the monkeypox outbreak, which is increasing rapidly, given our delayed response.
This nightmare scenario grows for several reasons. One is that people who have had monkeypox – mostly men who have sex with men – may also have contracted gonorrhea, syphilis, or herpes, The last two types of rashes can look the same for monkeypox. It is essential that patients are tested for all STDs.
David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, notes that Lack of access to testing, stigma, and fragmented funding One of the main factors in the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases. The lack of point-of-care diagnostic testing and education about symptoms among the public and clinicians will further fuel both monkeypox and similar sexually transmitted diseases.
Public health is underestimated and Underfunded for years. Anti-vax attacks have fueled the emigration of experienced public health workers.
With the current political climate and the move towards “don’t say like me”, only abstinence, and Limited Sex Education In many states, one would expect further increases in STDs and the difficulty of controlling any new outbreaks of infectious diseases.