Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to be a growing matter of concern in the U.S., with many cases of congenital syphilis also being reported recently. According to a report by PBS NewsHour, cases of congenital syphilis, which is more severe than syphilis in adults and can lead to stillbirth and long-term health problems in babies, are on the rise since 2012.
So, what’s causing this rise in STIs and congenital syphilis? According to Dr. Irene Stafford, OBGYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist at UT Health, Houston, the reasons are multifactorial. The lack of consistent screening and emphasis on sexual health, particularly in special risk groups, lack of funding and available clinics along with limited access to care, are some of the key contributing factors to the rising rates of STIs in the country.
But, what can be done to address this issue? Dr. Stafford emphasizes the need for routine screening for STIs in every health encounter, especially for individuals in the high-risk group. Encouraging and offering more comprehensive sexual health education, increasing funding for screening and treatment programs, and creating easy and affordable access to clinics can also help in combating the growing cases of STIs and congenital syphilis.
It’s important for both individuals and society as a whole to recognize the importance of sexual health and work towards creating a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Only through collective efforts can we hope to tackle the growing threat of STIs and congenital syphilis in the U.S.