NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) — Sexually transmitted disease rates across the nation have reached an all-time high, the latest report coming from the Centers for Disease Control.
The high rates are for three diseases; gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
In the Natural State in 2018, the report showed 17,663 cases of chlamydia, 7,300 cases of gonorrhea, and 288 cases of primary and secondary syphilis.
Nationally, there were 2.4 million new cases in 2018.
One of the popular diseases, becoming even harder to treat.
Alexis McCollum with the Willow Creek Women’s Hospital said, “That bacteria is becoming particularly resistant to really the one antibiotic that we can use for it.”
New CDC data shows Arkansas had over 25,000 cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis last year.
You might not even know you have it, but these diseases could cause irreversible consequences to not just you, but your future child.
“We see syphilis, when undiagnosed, can have pretty detrimental effects to a growing fetus in a pregnant mother,” said McCollum.
According to the CDC, young people account for half of all new STD infections.
“We’re also seeing a significant increase in our teens and adolescence, so younger than 18,” she said.
McCollum said at that age, it might be hard to face the stigma of getting tested. So, she said there’s a way to do it more discreetly.
“Arkansas does allow for me to screen and treat for STDs in a minor without parental consent,” she said.
But, the blame for the rise in STD rates is shared with another, older generation.
“There’s a potential incline in maybe our older generation that we want to write off as not a possibility for having these infections,” McCollum said. “We don’t think about screening people our grandparents’ age or anything like that so, it may allow that infection to go unchecked and thus be transmitted further.”
To McCollum, there’s a couple reasons behind the spike.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a decline in condom usage, and that could be anywhere from slacking on the education of it, it’s not getting to everyone it needs to, or it’s that we have much more effective contraceptive to prevent pregnancy that we’re seeing a decline because they feel safe from a pregnancy standpoint that we’re missing the mark from a sexually transmitted disease standpoint.”
To find a free or low cost STD test, click here.