2018 STD Surveillance Report: STIs Rates Rapidly Increased Again

Oct 08, 2019 | Kim Rodgers

On October 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report, 2018. Devastatingly, rates of reportable STDs, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, surged for the fifth year in a row. An especially alarming figure is that congenital syphilis, which occurs when a pregnant person with untreated syphilis passes it to the fetus, rose 40% in just one year (918 cases in 2017 to 1306 in 2018) with almost 100 congenital syphilis-related fatalities (22% increase).

From 2017-2018:

  • Primary and secondary syphilis have increased 14% (with the most alarming increase among newborns)
  • Gonorrhea increased 5% but 2018 showed the most cases reported in more than 20 years
  • Chlamydia increased 3% but 2018 had the highest case count ever recorded by the CDC

STDs can have serious consequences for adults and babies if left untreated—this is especially true for syphilis which is simple to cure, including in utero, with the right treatment. Congenital syphilis increases are a widespread problem with 41 states and Washington DC reporting at least case of congenital syphilis in 2018. But there are portions of the country which are disproportionately burdened. Just one syphilis test during pregnancy is unlikely to be enough so it is essential that providers are performing multiple tests and discussing pregnancy intention with their non-pregnant patients who may be at risk of STDs, especially syphilis. Syphilis during pregnancy is easily cured but without early and regular prenatal care, cases of syphilis in pregnant people will not be detected.

Everyone should know that syphilis is not a disease of the past—it is still here, and it is thriving. With increasing prevalence, even women who traditionally would have been considered to have few risk behaviors may be exposed, and many may not know that they have syphilis. An additional concern is drug use—data shows that methamphetamines, heroin, and injection drug use have continued to increase among heterosexuals with syphilis.

NACCHO, representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, has worked closely with the CDC to support its members to tackle rising STD rates.

Engaging Local Health Departments to Address Rising STI Rates

Reversing these trends will require health departments, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to work together to more effectively implement proven prevention strategies and develop new tools and approaches to address what isn’t working. For local health departments, this includes educating providers and the public about the increasing risk of syphilis, including congenital syphilis, and the need for early prenatal care. Local health departments across the country are actively expanding evidence-based strategies to increase identification of STDs; assuring appropriate clinical services for STD clients and their sexual partners; conducting health education and promotion; using surveillance data to inform programmatic efforts and focus on populations disproportionately impacted by STDs; and educating the public, providers, and key stakeholders on effective policy approaches. You can read about many of these approaches in the most recent issue of NACCHO Exchange, which focuses completely on local health department efforts to address STIs.

STD prevention and treatment are important to address in every jurisdiction. We recommend you sign up to receive NACCHO’s HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis Digest, which highlights the latest in the efforts to combat these increases, shares funding opportunities (from NACCHO and elsewhere), and includes “requests for information” that have been received by NACCHO to encourage peer learning and assistance between local health departments! Additionally, you can join NACCHO’s HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis Sentinel Network to inform our work on STIs—the network was formed to increase NACCHO’s understanding of LHD efforts, needs, challenges, and successes, and is comprised of more than 100 LHDs from over 40 states and Washington, DC, who complete brief surveys on HIV, STI, and viral hepatitis issues.


637020799465370000

About Kim Rodgers

Pronouns: She/Her

Kim Rodgers is the Communications Manager at NACCHO.

More posts by Kim Rodgers

Related Posts

  • Food Safety & Inspection
  • Influenza

FDA Announced Flu Vaccine Messages Aimed at Food and...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched targeted outreach to...

Nov 24, 2020

FDA Announced Flu Vaccine Messages Aimed at Food and...

NOHD Logo no background 1
  • Tools & Resources
  • Climate Change
  • Social Determinants of Health

Story from the Field: Climate Changes Health Crisis:...

In 2020, the New Orleans Health Department partnered with climate technology...

Nov 23, 2020 | Juliette Frazier

Story from the Field: Climate Changes Health Crisis:...

2000px US CDC logo
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Contact Tracing

New Recommendations for Prioritizing Case Investigations...

CDC released new recommendations prioritizing case investigations and contact...

Nov 23, 2020 | Beth Hess

New Recommendations for Prioritizing Case Investigations...

World AIDS Day Square
  • Tools & Resources
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

World AIDS Day 2020 Resources

Check out the below resources and events to commemorate World AIDS Day 2020 in...

Nov 23, 2020 | Julia Zigman

World AIDS Day 2020 Resources

PHTYD Pic1
  • COVID-19
  • Leadership
  • Workforce Development
  • Letters & Statements

Happy Public Health Thank You Day!

Public health in the United States and globally has been in an unprecedented...

Nov 23, 2020

Happy Public Health Thank You Day!

Webinar
  • COVID-19
  • Webinar

Webinar: Keeping People Safe in Congregate Living...

Join NACCHO and the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) on...

Nov 20, 2020 | Beth Hess

Webinar: Keeping People Safe in Congregate Living...

CAEAR
  • Access to Care
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis
  • Infectious Disease
  • Opportunity

Join NACCHO and CAEAR Coalition’s New Ryan White Part A...

Join NACCHO and CAEAR Coalition’s New Ryan White Part A Community of Practice

Nov 20, 2020 | Andrea Grenadier

Join NACCHO and CAEAR Coalition’s New Ryan White Part A...

November Feature Web
  • COVID-19
  • Immunization
  • Medical Reserve Corps

Preparing for Mass Vaccination Whatever the Weather

While the timing of COVID-19 vaccine availability is still unknown, Medical...

Nov 19, 2020 | Beth Hess

Preparing for Mass Vaccination Whatever the Weather

Rural Frontier RFA
  • COVID-19
  • Funding Opportunity
  • Opportunity
  • Rural Health

Funding Opportunity: Building Workforce Capacity of...

Application deadline November 30, 2020.

Nov 19, 2020 | Beth Hess

Funding Opportunity: Building Workforce Capacity of...

Back to Top