Believe it or not, sexually transmitted diseases are pretty common (I know a little change of pase, but its reality and I was shocked at the numbers), but most people don't want to talk about them and much less with their doctors. The other problem is that most people only care about the "bigger ones" meaning HIV, syphilis, herpes etc. But in reality we have to take care of all of them. Don't want to talk about it? or do you?
Here I will be braking down the new info provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) the 2016 Sexually Transmitted disease surveillance...and focus on the one at the top of the list.
I remember during my pediatric and adolescent medicine rotations hearing the following: oh doc, it burns! And yes it tends to do that but for many people (most often women) it won't give you any symptoms at all which is why people keep infecting each other and not knowing it.
In 2016 there were 1,598,354 cases of chlamydia reported (mind you, this doesn't include those who weren't reported), 468,514 of gonorrhea; 27,814 of syphilis! Insane the huge numbers and difference in them. The CDC also estimates that around 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year, with many of these cases undiagnosed!
Something equally alarming was that 46% almost half was reported in young women, ages 15-24; and face the most severe consequences of staying undiagnosed...things like infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancies can be expected ahead. What tends to happen is, that undiagnosed people can continue to spread it to others without knowing it.
Which states have the highest ranking?
This is the ranks based on rate per population (which pretty much means that there are people infected per 100K people...not the total amount) to get the complete list and see how your state ranks click here
4. New Mexico
The ranks based on total cases are:
3. New York
What is chlamydia?
This little bacteria chlamydia trachomatis (I know it sounds gross but if we don't talk about it, who will?) is the most common STD (clearly reported by the CDC), that be passed on to another person through sexual activities and even though its not difficult to treat, you may not know you have it.
What are the symptoms?
The early stages of the infection may not bring any signs or only a few or can be mild which causes most people to overlook them.
In men it can cause something called urethritis (which is pretty much infection or inflammation of the urethra) which is why it can cause this burning sensation, along with a nice little discharge (this is when guys freak out and run to the doctor (probably the only time in their life that they do)
In women it can cause cervicitis (which is the same thing but of the cervix)...and some would just have the pelvic discomfort and won't notice it much, sometimes they think its their "monthly friend." This is where the problem lies for women, they don't notice it, so the bug keeps moving up and infect the fallopian tubes aka salpingitis, then PID and can eventually lead to infertility, or possibly ectopic pregnancies when they do become pregnant.
on another note: this can be seen in the oral and anal regions as well, another reason why it can go undiagnosed.
How can it treated?
You can easily treat this with antibiotics when it's caught early, which is why the CDC recommends getting checked the minute you experience symptoms but there are STD screening protocols to make sure these things don't go unnoticed.
STD screening in women:
"If you are a sexually active woman younger than 25, or have risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, you should request annual chlamydia and gonorrhea tests. If you have never been tested for HIV, you should request an HIV test." (CDC STDs website)
"If you are a pregnant woman, you should request syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B tests early in your pregnancy. If you are younger than 25 or have new or multiple sex partners, you should also request chlamydia and gonorrhea testing early in pregnancy" (CDC STD website)
How can it be prevented?
Honestly abstinence is the best method of prevention (obviously) just don't put yourself at risk but if you do have sex, make sure you are protecting yourself with barrier contraception.
Also don't have multiple sex partners or being sexually active before the age of 25 (this tends to happen because young people, for the most part, don't have proper education about sexual activity and what's safe or not (which is why I always encourage parents to have this discussion with their teens early)...I am mentioning all these because research has shown that they are on top of the list for preventing the spread of the infection.
If you have any questions and would like to obtain more information, don't hesitate and shoot me an email
Where I got all this info: