Not enough federal funding is the reason there is a rise in STD rates – at least that’s what local and state officials are saying.
the last 15 years, there has been a 40 percent decline of federal
funding to combat STDs for local and state public health programs.
Officials said more federal funding is necessary to fight this
dramatic rise in STDs to get them under control again.
National Coalition of STD Directors requested $70 million in funding
a year to help with STD prevention and treatment. The agency also
asked the Trump administration to develop a federal plan that works
with all health agencies. They also asked the Trump administration to
announce a public health emergency for sexually transmitted diseases
like it did for opioids.
declaring it a public health emergency, it would give officials the
money they need to address the crisis quicker. The money could be
used in STD clinics and protecting babies from congenital syphilis,
which is what occurs when the mother has syphilis and spreads it to
her baby. It would also be used to combat the concerning
antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea problem.
to the CDC, STDs cost the nation around $1.6 billion a year.
Health Department Director Nathaniel Smith said more funding would
ensure more employees could be hired to help find the partners of
people who tested positive for an STD. He said it would also allow
them to visit the more susceptible communities to talk to them about
STDs and provide testing and treatment.
Coalition of STD Directors Executive Director David Harvey said local
and state officials have been meeting with key federal health
officials on a regular basis and talks about the problem have been
on the state and local levels are worried because information before
2013 shows the rates of STDs had started to drop. Today’s
information is the complete opposite. The federal government does not
keep routine track of information for common STDs like HPV and
herpes. (HPV also causes cervical cancer).
rates for HIV have their own report. And, HIV-positive people are
using drugs to slow the spread of the disease. Although more women
are using long-term contraceptives, condoms are not being used more
often, which is leading to the rise in STDs.
to CDC information, gonorrhea rose 67 percent in four years’ time
(2013 to 2017). Syphilis cases doubled with more cases being
diagnosed in gay men. The CDC found the most common STD was chlamydia
with 1.7 million people diagnosed with the STD.
Division of STD Prevention’s Epidemiology and Statistics Branch
Chief Kyle Bernstein, this shows a troubling sign. However, there are
some politicians that have sat up and taken notice.
General Jerome Adams was sent a letter from Democrat Sen. Patty
Murray who is on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
She urged him to act right away to increase public awareness and
focus on preventing efforts, especially in areas where people are
most at risk for catching an STD.
Democratic representatives and 10 Democratic senators are written
their appropriations leaders to ask for more funding to combat the
rise of STDs before budget deliberations were held.
the increase was not added, Harvey and other advocates hope the
president’s budget will include the request. That budget request is
supposed to be released in February. About $157 million is spent a
year by the federal government for the STD fight.
hope to get STD funding on follow-up bills targeting the opioid
crisis. The bill President Trump signed in law back in October for
the opioid crisis made no mention of STDs. According to experts, the
number of people addicted to drugs like prescription painkillers and
heroin is one of the reasons for the increase in STD rates. These
people may be trading their bodies to score drugs.
many agencies are addressing the STD problem. For example, the FDA
has introduced several proposals about drug-resistant bacteria. The
CDC is encouraging doctors to test pregnant women for syphilis
throughout their pregnancies – not just as the start of it.
Smith knows officials are faced with an array of health issues like the opioid crisis, obesity and nicotine, which is why the STD crisis is not their top priority. However, he said, the numbers are alarming and that needs to be dealt with.
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