2017 saw many stories hit the news circuit that directly related to your sexual health. Some stories held a higher level of impact than others. As we wrap up the year, we’d like to take a look back at the year’s eight biggest sexual health news stories. Today, we’re looking at numbers 4 through 1.
4. Multiple Outbreaks of Syphilis
In 2017, syphilis made a comeback. Several states, including Texas and Oklahoma, reported dramatic growth in reported cases of syphilis. Syphilis is a curable infection. It is usually treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, if the infection is not detected early enough, it can slip into the later stages of infection and cause more severe health problems or even death.
The biggest hurdle facing local health departments in the fight against syphilis were budgetary constraints. Since the infection was nearly wiped out, many health department budgets saw no need in a continued increase in funding. Now, as syphilis case rates rise, health officials are pleading with their states for help.
One of the most concerning aspects of the syphilis outbreaks happening around the country are the number of congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis affects newborn babies and can be deadly in some cases. Several fatalities have been reported in California, Iowa, Oklahoma and other states.
3. The Trend of “Stealthing”
“Stealthing” is a term used by media in 2017 which describes when a man wearing a condom during sexual intercourse will deliberately and secretly remove the condom during sex without the consent of their partner. This act can leave both partners susceptible to STD transmission. This act can also leave women vulnerable to unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.
In April, as more and more news sources began reporting about the trend of “stealthing.” There was a great deal of outrage on the internet over the reports. These reports sparked national debates about the definition of consent and how laws should protect people from being violated after they have removed consent.
The CDC urged all people who felt they may have been a victim of stealthing to seek out STD testing and other medical attention.
2. 15% of Americans Living With HIV are Unaware
A 2017 report by the CDC on the subject of HIV uncovered some shocking statistics about Americans living with HIV. The report estimates that there are 1.2 million people in the U.S. currently infected with HIV. The report found that 15% of those people were unaware of their current infection. This was a significant spike from previous reports.
Beyond those who are currently unaware of their HIV positive status, many who had been recently diagnosed were found to have been living with the virus for at least three years. Furthermore, they discovered that in 2015 just under 40,000 newly diagnosed cases of HIV were in patients that had been unaware of the infection for up to 7 years.
In today’s world, there are many treatments and medicines to help people diagnosed with HIV live long and healthy lives. The most important part of treating HIV is to catch the infection as early as possible. Living years without diagnosis can severely impair a patient’s ability to remain healthy.
1. CDC Reports HIghest Number of STD Cases Ever
According to a report released from the CDC in September of 2017, there were over 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in the United States last year. In the CDC’s annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, it was revealed that there more cases of STDs this past year than any other year on record.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
The CDC further reported that certain groups of people have been most affected by the increase in STD cases. Women, infants and gay and bisexual men saw the largest increase in case rates in that time. While these groups are most affected, STDs have been increasing in almost every demographic over the past decade.
Remember that the best way to keep on top of your sexual health is to have STD testing performed. Many times, STDs will not present any signs or symptoms so testing can be the only way to detect them properly.