STDs on the Rise
For the second consecutive year, new federal data shows a sharp increase of three common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — in the United States. There were 2 million cases overall, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Young people, members of racial minorities and men who have sex with other men are at most risk. When undiagnosed, STDS can cause infertility as well as other health problems.
Here are some more highlights:
• The syphilis rate rose most sharply, by 19 percent.
• Chlamydia rates, highest among 15-to 24-year-olds, grew by 5.9 percent.
• Gonorrhea and syphilis were most common among gay men but rates also climbed among women, too.
“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention in a news release. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services — or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”
STDs and Substance Use Disorders
Having a substance use disorder can up your chances of getting and giving an STD, according to the CDC. This is because drug and alcohol abuse increase the likelihood of risky sexual behavior (either to attain drugs or while under the influence) and also weaken the body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to infection.
Getting help for your addiction is a great first step in protecting yourself from STDs. The CDC also recommends the following tips to avoid giving or getting an STD:
- Practice abstinence. Not having sex is the surest way to avoid STDs, according to the CDC. This includes vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- Use condoms: If you do have sex, use a condom correctly every time, notes the CDC.
- Stick with one partner: Agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you.
- Talk with your partner: It might be uncomfortable to talk to your partner about getting tested for STDs, but it’s important. The CDC recommends the following conversation starter: “Many people who have an STD don’t know it. Why take a chance when we can know for sure?”
- Get tested: Many STDs don’t have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems.
- Get treatment: Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. If either you or your partner is infected, you need to start treatment immediately to avoid getting re-infected.
Taking the First Steps Together
Seabrook ® has been helping clients find the courage to recover from substance use disorders for more than 40 years. We’ll work with you to get the help you need and deserve. To learn more, call today: 856-455-7575.