The number of cases of a sexually transmitted disease reported in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year, the CDC is reporting.
The combined total of reported chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases was more than 1.8 million in 2015, the agency said in its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report.
Those numbers are probably an underestimate, the agency said in a release, since most STD cases are undiagnosed and untreated. But the treated cases have reached an all-time — and expensive — high: the agency said it estimates the annual cost of therapy at nearly $16 billion.
The reported incidence of all three conditions rose from 2014 — by 5.9% for chlamydia, 12.8% for gonorrhea, and a whopping 19% for primary and secondary syphilis.
The 2015 data showed:
- Some 1,526,658 cases of chlamydia were reported, up 5.9% from 2014. Two-thirds of those cases occurred in young people 15 through 24.
- Gonorrhea rose 12.8% from 2014, to 395,216 reported cases, and those 15 through 24 accounted for half of all diagnoses.
- Primary and secondary syphilis jumped 19% from 2014, with some 23,872 reported cases, with most of them among gay and bisexual men.
- Women accounted for fewer than 10% of syphilis cases but the rate of congenital syphilis cases increased by 6%.
The CDC blamed the increase, at least in part, on the decline of public health systems meant to keep STDs in check. “Many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded,” commented Jonathan Mermin, MD, director of the agency’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
“We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services or the human and economic burden (of STDs) will continue to grow,” Mermin said in a statement.