SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a disturbing new health report on Tuesday. Three types of sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high in the United States.
The number of cases of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis are up for the fifth straight year. 2.4 million people were diagnosed in 2018. Experts said these infectious diseases are traditionally the easiest to treat, which makes the statistics so alarming.
“I think a lot of times, it’s something people don’t feel comfortable talking about, particularly young people feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their doctor or with their educators or with their family. You can only really control how you’re preventing yourself, and it takes two people to choose to wear a condom.”Chad Martins, Internal Medicine Physician at Memorial Health
Chad Martins, an Internal Medicine Physician at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, told News 3 that he’s seeing an uptick in the number of young people carrying the diseases, specifically because they are practicing unsafe sex. He said many schools in Georgia are teaching about abstinence rather than prevention.
Georgia currently ranks in the top ten states with the highest rates of cases of Chlamydia and Syphilis. Martin says the statistics not only show an immediate problem but also could lead to long term health effects.
“The bacteria actually passes through the placenta and can get into the baby’s system, what we call congenital syphilis. (…) Typically, those kids are going to be horribly disfigured for their whole lives.”Chad Martins, Internal Medicine Physician at Memorial Health
Infertility and cervical cancer are possible consequences of not treating a sexually transmitted disease. The Peach State saw 31 cases of congenital syphilis in 2018. 94 babies died nationwide.
Experts said a possible factor driving the rise in STD cases could be more people getting tested and cases being diagnosed and reported. Doctor Martins said often cases are asymptomatic. He recommends you see a physician if you are sexually active.