Public Health "Asleep at the Wheel" on STDs

Last year, “486 school buses’ worth of people” in the US got syphilis while policymakers were “asleep at the wheel,” as Olga Khazan put it in The Atlantic’s take on the latest CDC report on STDs.
For the 5th year running, cases of syphilis as well as gonorrhea and chlamydia all rose in the US—jumping to a record high last year, according to data released yesterday.
The Numbers (from the AP):

  • Gonorrhea: 580,000 cases were reported—the highest number since 1991
  • Syphilis: ~35,000 cases of the disease’s most contagious form were reported (also the most since 1991)
  • Chlamydia: More than 1.7 million cases reported last year; the infection rate rose 3% from 2017

Why the rise? The CDC says the opioid epidemic, growing antibiotic resistance, stigma, and budget cuts all contribute. It amounts to a “terrible failure of public health,” Gavi CEO Seth Berkley tweeted.

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