The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2021 STD Surveillance Data showing that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have reached a new record high for the eighth year in a row . According to the surveillance data, reported cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all increased between 2020 to 2021 to reach a total of more than 2.5 million reported cases.
Efforts must be prioritized and focused to regain lost ground against the STI epidemic. At-home STI screening can help rebuild, innovate, and expand STD prevention and control in the United States.
The rise in syphilis cases
According to the CDC, syphilis cases increased by 32% from 2020 to 2021 . Although syphilis can be easily treated and cured many people who are infected don’t necessarily know it. Without detection and treatment, the disease can have serious consequences, such as irreversible neurological and cardiovascular complications. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) currently recommends screening for syphilis infection in persons who are at increased risk for infection . This recommendation applies to asymptomatic, nonpregnant adolescents and adults who have ever been sexually active and is based on findings that the benefits of screening outweigh the harms.
The rise in gonorrhea cases
A total of 710,151 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the CDC in 2021 . This makes it the second most common notifiable sexually transmitted infection in the United States for 2021. Gonorrhea can cause infection in the genitals, rectum, and throat and is very common, especially among young people ages 15-24 years. Gonorrhea often has no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems, even without symptoms. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and an increased risk of HIV or AIDS.
The rise in chlamydia cases
Chlamydia cases rose from 1,579,885 cases in 2020 to 1,644,416 cases in 2021 . Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States . This bacterial infection often has no symptoms, but can still cause permanent damage to reproductive organs without treatment, resulting in complications such as epididymitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. About 75% of chylamydia infections in women and 50% in men have no symptoms . The often asymptomatic nature of chlamydia means that people can spread the infection to others without knowing their condition.
How LetsGetChecked can help combat rising STI rates
The rise in STIs in the United States is multifactorial, due in part to inconsistent screening patterns and issues with access to care, funding, and available clinics. In order to combat this trend, more emphasis should be placed on offering and encouraging routine screening for STIs.
LetsGetChecked partners with public health programs to leverage effective prevention and treatment strategies to help combat the spread of STIs. Our simple and convenient testing solutions meet people where they are in the field, in-clinic, and at home with accessible and discreet care. Together, we can combat rising STI rates by identifying, testing, and treating members of your population to prevent transmission, reinfections, and complications.