Infections from three sexually transmitted diseases have risen for the fifth consecutive year in the U.S.
More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017.
It's the most ever reported in a year, though the trend is mainly attributed to increased testing.
About 580,000 gonorrhea cases were reported. That's the highest number since 1991. The rate rose 5 percent. Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor.
And the syphilis rate rose 15 percent. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported — also the most since 1991.
Among the most worrisome trends is the growing threat of newborn deaths from syphilis. Cases of congenital syphilis, which is passed from the mother to her baby during pregnancy, increased 40 percent from 2017-2018. Newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis increased 22 percent from 2017 to 2018 —from 77 to 94 deaths.
Although most states reported at least one case of congenital syphilis, five states — Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana — accounted for 70 percent of cases in the U.S., the CDC reported.
Antibiotics can cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. If left untreated, STDs can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy and an increased risk of HIV.
The CDC released the numbers Tuesday. A number of factors are contributing to the persistent rise in STDs in the U.S., including drug use, decreased condom use among young people, reduced access to health services, clinic closures and cuts to public health funding.