Ever since COVID-19 took over the whole world in 202, things are looking better at present. However, when it comes to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the US, there has been no positive outcome. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 20 million people are infected with an STD in the US. With gonorrhea being one of the most common STDs, the number of reported cases is seemingly increasing.
As a matter of fact, the CDC reported 616,392 gonorrhea cases in 2019 in the US. With this, gonorrhea became the second-most common infection in the country that year. This rising trend of gonorrhea cases is not the first time. In fact, since 2010, there has been a reported increase of gonorrhea cases by as much as 92%.
With STD being more of an epidemic, people are becoming more aware of its consequences. Additionally, with gonorrhea being very common, as many as 1.6 million new infections were reported in the US alone in 2018. This also suggests that more people are resorting to getting tested for gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea And Its Symptoms
Being one of the most common STDs, gonorrhea is transmitted from one person to another through vaginal, anal, or oral sex without protection. If a person happens to be infected with gonorrhea, the targeted areas will include the anus, vagina, throat, eyes, urethra, or the female reproductive tract.
Usually, gonorrhea symptoms tend to show within 14 days. However, this is not the case for all people. In fact, in some cases, a person who is asymptomatic can still infect their partner without realizing it.
Some of the symptoms of gonorrhea include fever, pain while having sex, frequent urination, sore throat, heavy periods, or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis. If a person were to experience such symptoms, it’s pertinent to get tested for STD without further delay. On the off chance that gonorrhea is left untreated, there is a high possibility that it will lead to health complications in the future.
Why Are Gonorrhea Rates Increasing?
There are several factors why the US is seeing an increase in gonorrhea rates. One of the most important factors contributing to this rising trend is how people engage in sexual intercourse. It has always been advised that people need to use protection while having sex. This becomes even more important while having sex with a new partner.
Since it’s very easy to contract and transmit STDs, people should be able to protect themselves as well as their partners. With no intention of causing harm, people unknowingly transmit and contract STDs like gonorrhea, thus endangering lives. Of course, gonorrhea is very much treatable with antibiotics. However, if a person who already has severe health complications acquires this infection, it can prove to be fatal.
Other factors that lead to the increasing rates of gonorrhea are stigma, poverty, and drug use. Often, people tend to shy away from getting tested for STD due to shame. The notion of “What would people think?” should be eliminated from the minds of people. Only then will people be bold enough to get tested for STDs like gonorrhea, rather than keeping the pain and suffering to themselves.
Furthermore, poverty and drug use visibly reduce access to health care systems, including STD prevention. It should be noted here that lawmakers and health officials have made provisions for free STD check-ups in STD clinics. So, unless people take full advantage of the available facilities, there’s no saying when gonorrhea rates will drop.
Another factor that can’t be ruled out is the budget cut for STD programs at the local and state levels for the past few years. Additionally, during the pandemic’s peak in 2020, most STD clinics remained shut as health officials was allocated for COVID screening. Coupled with the loss of staff and budget, there has been a reduction in patient follow-up and other links to health care services. Therefore, it’s no wonder why gonorrhea rates have been slowly but steadily increasing.
Why Is There A Focus On Gonorrhea Tests?
Over the last few years, gonorrhea rates have evidently gone up. In fact, according to the CDC, gonorrhea is indeed very common, that an estimated 820,000 infections happen every year in the US. The sad truth is that only half of these cases are reported and detected by the CDC.
There’s no saying as to how big of an epidemic gonorrhea will become in the long run if this goes on. Although the death rate of gonorrhea is just 1% in the US, this doesn’t mean that people should take it lightly. In fact, if any kind of infection is left untreated for a long time, it’s only going to get worse. This is especially more relevant for women who risk being infertile and developing cervical cancer in the long run.
Therefore, the more people get tested for gonorrhea, the more the lawmakers and health officials will be able to assess the situation. People are now bolder than before, making it evident that more gonorrhea tests are being done. People should be able to take responsibility for their lives without putting their partners in harm’s way. Only then can there be a curb in gonorrhea rates and its further transmission.
For now, people should take a stand and get tested for STDs like gonorrhea at least once a year. This is what the CDC recommends. This way, there might come a day when there is a significant decrease in gonorrhea rates in the US. Additionally, the practice of using protection while having sex and also refraining from meaningless sex should be inculcated by everyone. Since these infections are easy to catch, couples should discuss their health history freely without shying away from the topic. Only by being honest and open about it will there be a significant change in the gonorrhea rates in the country. Who knows, Americans might even see a day when the country is finally gonorrhea-free!