The annual report just released by U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention last Tuesday revealed both encouraging and discouraging news about the country’s health official’s drive in containing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.
While chlamydia cases have gone down by 1.5 percent for the first time in 30 years last year, the disease still manages to claim a staggering, 1.14 million new victims. The reason for the decline is not clear according to experts.
Chlamydia, also known as the ‘silent infection’, since it doesn’t manifest any symptoms in women, if not treated with antibiotics right away can create permanent damage in a woman’s reproductive system. Ectopic pregnancies can develop for hopeful mothers, which is highly fatal and emotionally scarring.
Now for the discouraging news. Syphilis in its most serious form has risen by around 10 percent. The high incidence of syphilis in 2013 was numbered at 17,375 mostly involving the male gay community. Same sex intercourse among men constituted 75% of diagnosed cases, though these were mostly primary and secondary types which are considered the earliest signs of the infection.
Just like chlamydia, syphilis will respond well to antibiotic treatment if it is carried out immediately. Left untreated, the long term effects include loss of sight, stroke, which may lead to paralysis, and, worst, a high risk for developing HIV.
Another encouraging part in the CDC annual report is that the number of gonorrhea victims is down by 1 percent. Drug resistant gonorrhea has dominated recent news and the decline is a welcome development.
The CDC has come up with several suggestions which, if followed, will help prevent infection and alleviate the long term effects of STDs. One of these measures is yearly tests involving women below 25 years old who are actively engaged in sexual activities. The tests are for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Second, women who are on the family way should also submit themselves for HIV, Hepatitis B, and all types of STD testing. Third, another proposal is for gay and bisexual men who are sexually active to submit themselves once a year to complete STD screening. Fifth, safe sex and condom use is encouraged to prevent STD infections.