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Sep

10

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STDs on the Rise

Posted by on September 10th, 2018 Posted in: Health Literacy/Consumer Health, Public Health, Public Libraries


Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the dramatic increase of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.  In fact, for the fourth year in a row the numbers have continued to rise. Among the rise, specific sexually transmitted diseases include:

  • gonorrhea has been diagnosed in 555,608 cases in preliminary 2017 data (an increase of 67%  from 2013)
  • syphilis has been diagnosed in 30,644 cases (an increase of 76% from 2013)
  • chlamydia was reported with more than 1.7 million cases in 2017

These three diseases can be treated with antibiotics but gonorrhea has become antibiotic resistant over the years with only one antibiotic remaining effective, ceftriaxone. Many cases go undiagnosed or untreated which can lead to even more cases, infertility, stillbirths, and an increase in HIV.

Though a number of factors contribute to this increase of STDs , stigma can be a big factor. Sexual issues, especially sexual diseases, often carry the added issues of embarrassment, stigma, and privacy concerns. This is especially true in smaller towns and rural areas where close social networks and fewer healthcare options can make confidentiality difficult. An NPR story highlights the difficulty public health officials face in Clackamas County Oregon.

Libraries, especially public libraries, can start the conversation by providing information on social media, brochures, and web links. If available, collaborating with local health professionals and public health, and community agencies can provide additional support.

Here are some freely available and authoritative resources you or your patrons may find helpful as they seek treatment and additional information regarding STDs.

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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