CDC sounds alarm on STDs

Chlamydia continues surge; gonorrhea and syphilis change course

syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia

SURVEY SAYS  New estimates of the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections (causal bacteria shown from left) are just a snapshot of a larger epidemic. In the U.S., there are more than 110 million people with a sexually transmitted disease at any point in time and about 20 million new infections every year. 

Left and center: NIH Image Gallery/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0); Right: ZEISS Microscopy/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Three common sexually transmitted diseases reached a combined 20-year high in 2015, according to a report released October 19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. teenagers and young adults account for nearly two-thirds of the more than 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia and half of the roughly 400,000 gonorrhea diagnoses. Syphilis, the least prevalent of the three, rose almost 18 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“The 2015 data make clear that many Americans are not getting the preventative services they need,” Eloisa Llata, a CDC medical epidemiologist who coauthored the report, wrote in an e-mail.

Cassie Martin is a deputy managing editor. She has a bachelor's degree in molecular genetics from Michigan State University and a master's degree in science journalism from Boston University.

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