Across the country states are seeing an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the increase is most notable in cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and congenital syphilis. Gonorrhea has seen an increase of 45% since 2016. Syphilis an increase of 50%.
But the most alarming statistic is the increase of congenital syphilis, up 235% since 2016. In 2020 alone, congenital syphilis caused 149 still births in the U.S.
Though doctors can’t pinpoint a single cause to the sharp increase in gonorrhea, syphilis and congenital syphilis, they say a collection of factors could be to blame.
Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, of the University of Chicago, says that sex education isn’t reaching communities that need it the most. He also credits the stigmatization of sexually transmitted diseases as a factor in lack of treatment and spread of STDs.
Although the 2020 data for the city of Chicago has yet to be released, Hazara says the numbers in Chicagoland closely reflect those across the country. Hazra is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s taskforce to combat sexually transmitted diseases launched in 2019. He says that although city dollars help in combating the spread of STDs, Chicago is still lagging behind cities with greater resources like New York.