Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2017 sexually transmitted diseases (STD) numbers which revealed a serious problem in the United States–STDs hit record highs in the country for the fourth year in a row.
According to the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), this explosion in STDs is largely a result of cutbacks in federal resources.
Federal STD funding has seen a 40 percent decrease in purchasing power since 2003. NCSD estimates that an additional $70 million annually is needed to kickstart an effective response.
It’s not a coincidence STDs are skyrocketing – state and local STD programs are working with effectively half the budget they had in the early 2000s,” says David C. Harvey, executive director of NCSD. “If our representatives are serious about protecting American lives, they will provide adequate funding to address this crisis. Right now, our STD prevention engine is running on fumes.”
In most areas, federal funding is the only funding stream for STD prevention, and budget cuts in recent years have significantly curtailed the services health departments are able to provide – programs have been eliminated, STD clinics have closed or reduced hours, and outbreak response capacity has been significantly curtailed.
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Some more frightening implications of the continued increases include a growing number of babies born with syphilis and the looming threat of untreatable gonorrhea. When STDs go undiagnosed and untreated, the consequences can be severe and irreversible, especially for women.
“STDs have real health consequences – yes, they are often treatable, but they are by no means trivial,” says Harvey. “Investing in STD prevention is a win-win. These are time-tested, highly cost-effective interventions that save lives and money.”
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