"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Syphilis cases within the US reach 70-year high

April 12, 2023 – Cases of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis rose in 2021 to their highest level in greater than 70 years, a brand new report says.

Earlier this yr, the CDC released preliminary projections showing that syphilis rates rose alarmingly between 2020 and 2021. But now that health officials have finalized all of their data for 2021, the rise is even worse than predicted in March.

In only one yr, from 2020 to 2021, cases rose by 32% to 176,713, in accordance with the brand new finalized data from the CDC. This is the best total variety of syphilis cases within the United States since 1950.

The total variety of sexually transmitted disease cases within the United States in 2021 was 2.5 million, including 1.6 million cases of chlamydia, a 4% increase from the previous yr.

A CDC official called the situation an “epidemic.”

“The reasons for the continued increases are complex – and so are the solutions,” said Leandro Mena, MD, MPH, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention, in a press release. “It will take collaboration among many of us to effectively use new and existing tools, increase access to quality sexual health services for more people, and encourage continued innovation and prioritization of STI prevention and treatment in this country.”

syphilis causes sores and rashes and, if left untreated for an extended time frame, may cause serious problems in organs, the brain and nervous system. Untreated congenital syphilis can result in stillbirths. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics.

The CDC called the 32% increase in congenital syphilis cases from 2020 to 2021 “alarming” and reported that it resulted in 220 stillbirths and infant deaths in 2021.

The increase in sexually transmitted diseases throughout the pandemic has been attributed to reduced attention and resources dedicated to sexual health, with opioid use also considered a contributing factor.