Last Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their annual report, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2014, which reflected upon the number of reported cases of chlamydia, syphilis (primary, secondary and congenital) and gonorrhea. U.S.A. Today called the numbers “alarming,” and the CDC, “troubling.”

According to the report:

  • 1,441,789 cases of chlamydia were reported in 2014, marking a 2.8% increase since 2013
  • 350,062 cases of gonorrhea were reported in 2014, marking a 5.1% increase since 2013
  • 19,999 cases of primary and secondary syphilis were reported in 2014, marking a 15.1% increase since 2013
  • 458 cases of congenital syphilis were reported in 2014, marking a 27.5% increase since 2013

Among those at risk? Everyone—no one is immune. However, people between the ages of 15 to 24 are considered high risk individuals. Beyond that, this recent report shows that men who have sex with men are at a very high risk for contracting syphilis.

Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC: “The increase in STDs is in many ways a result of cuts in funding to public health clinics.”

So what can we, as individuals, do to help bring these numbers down despite the cuts in funding?

Here at Sustain, we view this across-the-board increase in reported cases of STDs as a call to action for people of all ages, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation to educate themselves and others about STD risk and prevention. And when engaging in sexual activity, do not put yourself further at risk; use protection. When you’ve engaged in sexual intercourse, take care of yourself and get tested[1]. By playing it safe and working together, we can affect positive change. Let this be an ongoing challenge for all.

[1] The CDC’s recommendations about how often to get tested for STDs and what to get tested for are available here.

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