Clinical TopicsCommunityInfectious DiseasesOff the ChartsReproductive HealthSTIs/STDs

STI cases reach record high

By: Julie Cullen

By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today

The United States is experiencing an alarming rise in cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This is what’s being reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More that 2.4 million syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia infections reported in 2018 (a 100,000 case increase over 2017)
  • 115,000 syphilis cases reported (71% increase over 2014)
  • 22% increase from 2017 in the number of newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis
  • More than 1,300 cases of syphilis among newborns in 2018 (40% increase over 2017 and 185% increase since 2014)
  • 580,000 gonorrhea cases were reported in 2018 (the highest number since 1991)
  • More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported in 2018 (the most ever reported to the CDC)
  • Since 2014, gonorrhea cases have increased 63% and chlamydia 19%
  • Men who have sex with men account for 54% of 2018 syphilis cases
  • Men diagnosed with gonorrhea has almost doubled over the past 5 years

The CDC believes the rise in STIs may be related to:

  • declining use of condoms by young people and men who have sex with men
  • increased screening
  • clinic closings because of cuts to state and local sexual health programs.

Source: The New York Times



  • Mbutambe Akpang
    September 18, 2023 11:42 pm

    Chlamydia and Gonorrhea have increased among youth. Many infections like Mycoplasma bacterial vaginosis are rampant among our young patients. Most young people are uneducated on STI infection because of a lack of resources. Even with the expansion of Medicaid in most states, many people do not have insurance. More budget needs to be put into healthcare and STI testing in general. Uninsured patients do not seek help until they are at the tertiary state level of infection, giving them more time to spread the disease. More education is needed at the community level.

  • I too, work in family planning and STI screening. I see individual’s concern and wanting to do right to protect themselves and their partners. Substance abuse certainly plays into sex without condoms. At times patients admit they were too drunk to realize they were having sex without a condom, or they were taken advantage of under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some partners lie about using a condom, or their STI status. Some think they were in a mutually monogamous relationship but their partner had other partners. There is so much poor information out there that we health professionals can correct: yes, herpes can be transmitted from a cold sore, yes, the HPV vaccination is highly effective, yes, MSM sex without condoms with multiple partners is a risk factor for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia. Linda, APRN

  • Increasing rates are due to softening of the Control Measures that try to prevent STI’s from spreading. Our government-State and Federal, have given in to the pressures from LGBT groups to “get off our backs, we want to do whatever we please, without regard to others”. At the local level, our hands are tied. We educate til we are blue in the face but constantly see repeat patients with same infections. We tell patients, “delay sexual activity until both you and your partner have been tested, limit the number of partners, get tested for HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas often, so that you know your status.” Our state funded medications are limited by the State, most people we see do not have insurance and the number of persons that are referred to “free clinics” are astronomical. We don’t even have an HIV, HCV treatment facility in our county and have to refer patients with poor means of transportation to another county for HIV, HCV care! Our hands are also tied as the number of Licensed Staff available to examine, treat, follow and educate these patients is at a bare minimum due to lack of funding. Essentially, people want to do what they please without regard to others and expect the government and taxpayers to pay for it!!! The sad part is they are being delivered their wishes on a silver platter!

  • How about apps like Tinder etc. which make casual sex with strangers not just as easy as a single screen swipe, but also somehow trendy and socially acceptable?!

Comments are closed.

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