STDs Reach All-Time High for Sixth Consecutive Year

New data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week found that reported annual cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the U.S. continued to climb in 2019, reaching an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year. The newly released 2019 STD Surveillance Report found:

  • 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, the three most commonly reported STDs in 2019.
  • A nearly 30 percent increase in reportable STDs between 2015 and 2019.
  • The sharpest increase was in cases of congenital syphilis, which nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2019.

According to the CDC, STDs can result in serious health consequences. If left untreated, some individuals can increase the risk of HIV infection, experience chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, severe pregnancy and newborn complications, and infant death. Notably, the STD epidemic continued to impact racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and youth the most significantly. These impacts include:

  • For Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups:
    • STD rates among African American or Black people were 5-8 times that of non-Hispanic white people.
    • STD rates among American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander people were 3-5 times than that of non-Hispanic white people.
    • STD rates among Hispanic or Latino people were 1-2 times that of non-Hispanic white people.
  • Gay and Bisexual Men:
    • Make up nearly half of all 2019 primary and secondary syphilis cases.
    • Gonorrhea rates were 42 times that of heterosexual men in some areas.
  • Young People Ages 15-24:
    • Make up 61 percent of chlamydia cases.
    • Make up 42 percent of gonorrhea cases.

The CDC outlines needs and opportunities available for state and local jurisdictions in controlling STDs, including through STD express clinics, partnerships with pharmacies and rural health clinics, and telehealth services.

Additional information on the latest CDC STD report is available here.