STD epidemic in US is "out of control," say public health experts

In the United States, there was a 26% rise of syphilis infections and 16% increase in HIV cases reported last year. According to David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, the sexually-transmitted disease epidemic in the US is "out of control." Be careful out there. From the Associated Press:

The increases in syphilis and other STDs may have several causes, experts say. Testing and prevention efforts have been hobbled by years of inadequate funding, and spread may have gotten worse — especially during the pandemic — as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment. Drug and alcohol use may have contributed to risky sexual behavior. Condom use has been declining.

And there may have been a surge in sexual activity as people emerged from COVID-19 lockdowns. "People are feeling liberated," [University of Alabama infectious disease researcher Michael] Saag said[…]

[Leonardo] Mena, who last year became director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention, called for reducing stigma, broadening screening and treatment services, and supporting the development and accessibility of at-home testing. "I envision one day where getting tested (for STDs) can be as simple and as affordable as doing a home pregnancy test," he said.