CDC researchers found that gonorrhea diagnoses increased by 67 percent — from 333,004 to 555,608 — in just five years. The sharpest increase was in men, in whom cases nearly doubled, going from 169,130 in 2013 to 322,169 in 2017. Though increases were also seen in women, they weren’t quite as dramatic, rising 18 percent over the same time period.
Another factor driving the skyrocketing numbers of STD cases may be a decline in funding for state and local agencies working on prevention, said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in many areas primarily due to the eroding public health infrastructure,” he said. “The lack of funding at the state and local level to really invest in prevention work is not just about medications, it’s about disease investigators who meet with the individual who is infected and talk about their behavior and do contact tracing to try to prevent the future spread.”
The United States “continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world,” said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.