USA: We're Number 1 (in Sexually Transmitted Diseases)

Otis Adams
UW Imprint

New charts and graphs are out to encourage everyone to stay home alone with the doors locked next Valentine’s Day.

For the sixth consecutive year, according to the CDC, the United States has set a new record for reported cases of sexually transmitted disease.
Centers for Disease Control

According to World Population Review, the United States leads the developed world in STD’s. Medical reports for undeveloped countries and those in which the government nudges figures toward favorable are more difficult to track.

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Singapore
  4. United Kingdom
  5. New Zealand
  6. Canada
  7. Denmark
  8. Latvia
  9. Malta
  10. Belgium

The Mayo Clinic describes STD’s as, “generally acquired by sexual contact. The bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause sexually transmitted diseases may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids”.

STI’s, or sexually transmitted infections, refer to the same diseases and parasites as STD’s.

STD’s can pass between people outside of sex through sharing needles, blood transfusions, or from mother to child.

Common Symptoms
- Sores or bumps on or near the genitals, rectum, or mouth.
-Painful urination
-Discharge from penis
-Unusual or smelly vaginal discharge
-Unusual vaginal bleeding
-Pain during sex
-Sore or swollen lymph nodes
-Lower stomach pain

Many STD’s show no symptoms and are not detected until they cause serious complications or until a partner is infected. Symptoms might appear within a few days of being infected during sex or may take years to appear.

A Troubling Trend

In 2014, the United States reported 1.9 million new STD cases. In 2019, that figure had risen sharply to 2.6 million.

Numbers for 2020 are likely to be skewed by the Covid-19 shutdown, but the reduction in socializing with new people should lead to positive results. However, the numbers from 2014 to 2019 show that the nation has a worsening problem that needs to be addressed.
Centers for Disease Control

The data from the CDC shows that STD’s impact minority groups at far higher rates than whites.

Syphilis has impacted newborns and women the most. Syphilis inherited from the mother “resulted in severe health complications and deaths among newborns. From 2018 to 2019 syphilis among newborns increased 41%”. The diagnosis of syphilis in American women rose 30%.

Young women, between the ages of 15 and 24, accounted for 43% of reported chlamydia cases in the country. STD’s that go undiagnosed are blamed for 20,000 cases of infertility in women each year.

Reversing the rise in STDs will require renewed commitment from all players.
-Centers for Disease Control

The CDC is pushing for awareness among individuals along with increased effort from health providers and state and local health departments to halt the increase and begin making gains in lowering STD rates.
Centers for Disease Control

Caroline Chen, writing for NPR, reported one local effort.

A medical worker named Mai Yang was searching on foot for a pregnant woman in Huron, California who had recently tested positive for syphilis. If contacted in time, the mother-to-be could begin treatments so that the baby would not inherit the disease.

Every case of this sort is preventable, so each baby born with syphilis is either a failure of the parents or medical system.

STD’s like syphilis can go the way of smallpox, being nearly eliminated across the country. However, such an accomplishment will require steady effort from governments and individuals.

STD Prevention
-Abstinence (not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex)
-Vaccines for hepatitis B and HPV
-Get tested and share results with your partner
-Mutual monogamy (a relationship in which you and your partner only have sex with each other) and reduction in the number of sexual partners reduces risk of STDs
-Correct and consistent condom use

When diagnosed with an STD, stop sexual contact with others and follow your doctor’s guidance.


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Author of Lavatory Reader #1: This Road, now available on Amazon. New Twitter @OtisAdamsWrites. Otis Adams is an award-winning writer with three books under his belt and two dozen awards boxed up in his closet for his screenplays and short fiction. He writes regularly on and can be contacted at

Columbia, MO

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