According to a new report in 2019 by the CDC, the United States has been experiencing a hike in annual STD cases for six consecutive years. Cases of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are uncovered as more testing is carried out by STD testing labs across the United States. Most of these cases have been reported in men and women who have sex with the same gender and those that are under 30. In 2019, there were over 2.5 million Americans living in the nation with either chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, and congenital syphilis.
According to the CDC report, the nation has recorded 1.8 million chlamydia cases which is a 19% increase from 2015. Gonorrhea cases increased by 56% from 2015, with 616,392 active cases. Syphilis had a spike of 74% with 129,813 cases, while congenital syphilis saw the highest rate of increase with 1,870 cases which is a 279% increase between 2015 to 2019. These numbers are greatly alarming to healthcare professionals.
The nation has seen a considerable decline in gonorrhea cases during the COVID-19 pandemic as people tend to have less sex with multiple partners. Another reason for the decline in the cases reported is that there isn’t as much testing as there normally is. But as the pandemic subsided and more gonorrhea tests were carried out, the reports reached an alarming height.
How Common Is Gonorrhea In The US?
Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the US. This infection mostly affects people between 15-24 years of age, with the highest number of gonorrhea cases reported in them. People between this age group are recommended to go for gonorrhea tests during routine checkups.
The CDC states that gonorrhea is the second most prevalent STD in the US, with a total of 616,392 cases in the latest report. While the infection affects both men and women, gonorrhea tests suggest that there are more cases reported in females than males, with 50.9% and 20.7%, respectively. But when it comes to infection rates, both men and women have a similar rate of infection. While the rate of infection for women stands at 108.7 per 100,000, men have a similar rate at 105.8 per 100,000 people.
The CDC reports that the infection rate in men is steadily increasing. Men have been experiencing a higher rate of infection since 2013. The 2018-2019 report showed a 5.1% increase, while the 2015-2019 report spiked at a 43.6% increase in the rate of gonorrhea infection in women. In contrast, the rate of gonorrhea disorder in men was recorded at 5.9% and 60.6% during 2018-2019 and 2015-2019, respectively. One of the reasons why men are experiencing an increased rate of infection is that there is more transmission. Gay men account for many of the reported gonorrhea cases.
The year 2009 marked the last year for low gonorrhea infection. Since then, the infection has continued to rise upwards with a 92% increase in the rate of infection. While gonorrhea affects a certain audience more than the others, anyone who is sexually active has a risk of developing the infection. The 2018-2019 gonorrhea tests report an increase of 5.7%. The increased infection rate is prevalent in both genders, all races, and in every part of the nation.
Gonorrhea has been affecting the nation for decades. The highest rate of infection that was reported was 442 cases per 100,000 people, and this happened in 1980. There were more than a million cases of gonorrhea in that particular year. While the nation has managed to bring the rate down steadily, an increasing trend is witnessed. The 2019 report of gonorrhea in a case study of people between 20-24 years based on gender suggests that men have a slightly higher rate of infection than women, with 743.5 cases and 737.4 cases per 100,000 people respectively.
In 2019 data collected that included race and gender, that infection can affect certain races and ethnic groups more than others. Research suggests that black men have the most cases of gonorrhea infection, with 724 cases per 100,000 people as opposed to gonorrhea cases in women with 448.9 per 100,000 people. The trend continues well into 2021 as more gonorrhea tests are conducted after a brief gap in testing due to COVID-19.
Worldwide, 87 million gonorrhea cases were recorded in 2016 in people between the ages of 15 to 49, according to the World Health Organization. This is quite alarming as anyone can get infected at any point in time. Gonorrhea can affect anyone who is sexually active, but certain groups of people are more susceptible to getting the infection. These groups of people include bisexual and gay men, sex workers, indigenous and ethnic groups.
Why Are There Higher Rates of Gonorrhea Infection?
Gonorrhea is a common STD that can be effectively treated with antibiotics. But the dark fact about gonorrhea is that it can become resistant to the antibiotics that are used for treatment. Another reason for high rates of gonorrhea infection is that there is a lack of testing. While there are many STD testing centers in the states across the nation, people are not going for tests, partly because of the stigma that revolves around STDs and partly because there are no symptoms present to facilitate the need for testing. Another reason why more positive gonorrhea cases are recorded is that less people are using protection such as condoms during sex, partly because HIV has become more manageable than it used to be.
Gonorrhea can be present in both males and females without causing symptoms. The high rates of infection can be managed effectively with routine gonorrhea tests. Gonorrhea can be cured, and therefore, there is a good chance to minimize the spread of the infection with proper and timely treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a high increase in the rate of transmission. With fewer diagnoses, there is an increased transmission rate as asymptomatic people have sex with others without knowing that they are spreading the infection.