At-Home Tests to Follow Spike in STDs

Rate of syphilis cases at highest in three decades
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2022 2:17 PM CDT
At-Home Tests to Follow Spike in STDs
This microscope photo made available by the CDC shows a tissue sample with the presence of numerous, corkscrew-shaped, darkly-stained, Treponema pallidum spirochetes, the bacterium responsible for causing syphilis.   (Skip Van Orden/CDC via AP)

Sharply rising cases of some sexually transmitted diseases—including a 26% rise in new syphilis infections reported last year—are prompting US health officials to call for new prevention and treatment efforts. "It is imperative that we ... work to rebuild, innovate, and expand (STD) prevention in the US," said Dr. Leandro Mena of the CDC in a speech Monday at a medical conference, per the AP. Infection rates for some STDs, including gonorrhea and syphilis, have been rising for years. Last year, the rate of syphilis cases reached its highest since 1991 and the total number of cases hit its highest since 1948. HIV cases are also on the rise, up 16% last year.

An international outbreak of monkeypox, which is being spread mainly between men who have sex with other men, has further highlighted the nation's worsening problem with diseases spread mostly through sex. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, called the situation "out of control." Officials are working on new approaches to the problem, such as home-test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others, Mena said. "I envision one day where getting tested (for STDs) can be as simple and as affordable as doing a home pregnancy test," he said. Another expert said a core part of any effort must work to increase the use of condoms.

New syphilis infections plummeted in the US starting in the 1940s when antibiotics became widely available. They fell to their lowest ever by 1998, when fewer than 7,000 new cases were reported nationwide. But by 2002 cases began rising again, largely among gay and bisexual men. By 2020 cases had reached nearly 41,700 and they spiked even further last year, to more than 52,000. The rate of cases has been rising, too, hitting about 16 per 100,000 people last year, for the highest in three decades. While the rate for women is lower than it is for men, officials noted that it has been rising more dramatically among women—up about 50% last year. (Read more STDs stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X