Americans are contracting more sexually transmitted diseases than ever. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just reported the highest rates they have ever recorded. Cases in Arizona have tripled in number since 2000.
For the fifth straight year, CDC officials say cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are up in the U.S. In 2018, a total of 2.4 million infections were diagnosed and reported.
“In Arizona, we are in the top 5 of positive syphilis where there is neonatal syphilis, congenital syphilis or syphilis in general,” said Dan Quan, Emergency Medical Physician at Valley Wise Health.
Doctors at Valley Wise Health say they are constantly testing for STDs. The CDC says the reason for the higher rates could be because of more tests and diagnoses.
“It is something that a lot of people may not have symptoms so they may not have an STI, so screening is important,” said Quan.
The rise in syphilis is most concerning since it has led to multiple stillbirths. In 2018, there were 61 cases of syphilis in babies and 10 cases resulted in death. Doctors say it is important to avoid this by taking proper precautions.
“We have to get back to safe sex, using barrier devices, risky behavior,” said Quan.
The health department says STD screening and prevention is critical because it could cause problems during pregnancy and possibly impact the baby’s health.
Click here to find a clinic where you can get tested for STDs in AZ.