Kansas sees rise in syphilis cases, newborns with disease

ABC News Chart Illustration

ABC News Chart Illustration Chart

In particular, rates of four STDs have been on the rise.

Chlamydia has gone up to 1.8 million cases, a 19 percent increase since 2014; gonorrhea rose to 583,405 cases (the highest number since 1991), equaling a 63 percent increase since 2014; and there were 35,063 cases of primary and secondary syphilis, a 71 percent increase since 2014.

Particularly concerning, the number of congenital syphilis cases was 14% higher than the previous year and almost 900% higher than in 2012.

Nevada also ranked #2 for rate of reported congenital syphilis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers Tuesday.

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Pregnant women reportedly experience some of the worst outcomes from untreated STDs, including from congenital syphilis, which the Washington State Department of Health says is a growing problem in Washington.

"Young people may experience multiple barriers to accessing quality STD prevention and care services, including an inability to pay for services, lack of transportation, or conflict between clinic hours and school and work schedules", Bowen said in an email. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it". Combine that with risk factors such as drug use and poverty, as well as reductions in STD awareness programs at both the state and local levels across the U.S., and you have a recipe for record-breaking STD numbers.

Jeffrey Klausner, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who ran San Francisco's STI program for over a decade, said, "A lot of the funding for day-to-day public health work isn't there". Chlamydia's 3% increase and gonorrhea's 5% increase both pale in comparison to the incredible 14% spike seen for syphilis. The Tang Center offers several services for students, such as STI screenings, preventative education and information, STI and HIV testings, HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines, as well as low-priced contraceptives. "Individuals can talk openly and honestly with their partners about sex and STDs to identify strategies that work for them to protect their sexual health".

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