Why do STIs increase?

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its own latest data: about cases sexually transmitted infections during the first year of the epidemic. In the first months of 2020, the number of people diagnosed with gonorrhea syphilis decreased, as you might expect, it was, after all, a time of extreme isolation for many. Later, however, the level of infection increased so much that at the end of the year the number of cases was 10% և 7% higher than in 2019. In all, there were approximately 134,000 և 678,000 reports of syphilis and gonorrhea. These were “amazing” growths, says Hillary Reno, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a medical director at the St. Louis County Sexual Health Clinic. “I can not tell you how many primary care doctors have called me recently. “I just saw my first case of syphilis this year.”

Indeed, syphilis was almost eliminated in the United States around 2000. The lowest rate of gonorrhea infection was reached in 2009. Many doctors who started practicing during this period had no experience diagnosing these STIs, especially in their female patients. Ina Park, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “There is a whole generation of clinicians who have never had syphilis in women and children.”

This is a significant issue. STIs can irreversibly damage the reproductive system. At least 20,000 women in the United States become infertile each year due to untreated sexually transmitted infections. Syphilis can cause ulcers, and if left untreated for decades, can cause fatal damage to the brain, heart, and other organs. Gonorrhea can be painful and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. Each condition is caused by a bacterium that can be treated with antibiotics (although the drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea bacteria are growing). Unfortunately, they are often asymptomatic, especially in women; they may find it more difficult to see signs of infection; some of these signs may be mistaken for a normal discharge or a yeast infection.

The ease with which sexually transmitted infections go undetected makes regular screening possible. However, this does not happen. “The epidemic has made sexually transmitted infections worse in America. “In the first year, people stopped testing and treatment,” says David K. Harvin, executive director of the National Coalition of STDs, a trade association of the state’s local sexually transmitted infections department. programs that collected their own data during the epidemic. (CDC data from the National Surveillance System, which includes mandatory laboratory reporting և sample surveys.) In addition, the contact tracks assigned to inform sexual partners were redistributed to focus on Covid.

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