AHF Applauds Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for Letter Asking U.S. Surgeon General to Take ‘Immediate Action’ on STDs

Request from Sen. Murray, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee
on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, comes after the CDC released
its latest analysis of STD rates in the U.S., in which it found steep
and sustained increases in STD infections, including nearly 2.3 million
total cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in the U.S.
in 2017

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#cdc–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
today commended Senator
Patty Murray
(D-WA), the Ranking Member of the United States Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP Committee), for
her October 10th letter
to U.S.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.
, asking that he “…
take immediate action to raise public awareness …”
about the
continually rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) both in
her home state of Washington and across the nation.

In her letter, Murray urged that Dr. Adams, “…engage all relevant
federal agencies in taking evidence-based steps to address the problems,
with particular focus on prevention amongst populations most at risk of
contracting STDs.”
Murray also noted, “The continued rise in STD
rates is in sharp contrast with declining rates observed just a few
years ago and demonstrates a clear need for federal, state, and local
public health agencies, providers, and policy officials to act
immediately.”

In late August, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) issued its latest
analysis
of STDs in the United States. The CDC found steep and
sustained increases in STD infections—nearly 2.3 million total cases of
chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, up
200,000 cases or more than 9% since 2016. Gonorrhea was up 67%, primary
and secondary syphilis, up 76% and while chlamydia held relatively
steady— just a few points above where it was in 2013—at more than 1.7
million cases in 2017, it remains the most prevalent STD and is a
significant health concern because the disease can affect women’s
reproductive organs and possibly leave them infertile. The majority of
these new STD infections are also being found in young people ages 18-24.

“We thank Senator Murray for calling on Dr. Adams and the U.S. Surgeon
General’s office to take swift action to raise awareness about the
epidemic of STDs sweeping our nation as well as sharing information
about evidence-based prevention, particularly targeting those most at
risk for contracting STDS—those in the 18 to 24-year-old range,” said Michael
Weinstein
, President of AHF.

“Among many population groups in all parts of our country, sexually
transmitted diseases are spreading at alarmingly high rates. Clear
action on prevention and treatment from the Surgeon General and other
key federal agencies is necessary to help educate the public about these
infections as well as about effective prevention and treatment options,”
said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director of AHF’s Public
Health Division. “Regular STD screenings with a trusted medical provider
must be a key component of maintaining one’s sexual health. It is more
important now than ever for people to take the necessary steps to
protect themselves and their partners from potentially harmful diseases.”

Syphilis: Back from the brink of oblivion

In July 2000, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a piece for The
New Yorker
that explored the U.S. government’s missed
opportunity to eradicate syphilis, which at the time was at its lowest
level in U.S. history. Gladwell observed that, “…syphilis is very
close to that critical point faced by many epidemics, when even the
slightest push could tip them into oblivion.”
He also noted, “…the
Centers for Disease Control asked Congress, if, for an extra fifteen
million dollars in C.D.C funding, it would like to wipe out syphilis
from the United States by 2005. And Congress said no.”

“Creating a hashtag or talking about this issue for 30 days is simply
not enough to address the magnitude of the problem at hand with STDs,”
added Engeran-Cordova. “We need our elected officials and health
agencies to make confronting the STD epidemic a national priority, and
we commend Senator Murray for pressing Dr. Adams and Surgeon General’s
office to step up and take a lead in this critical effort.”

AHF advises sexually active individuals to reduce the risk of
contracting and spreading STDs by engaging in safer sex practices such
as regular condom use and participating in frequent STD screenings.
Knowing your STD or HIV status is essential to your health and the
health of your sexual partners.

AHF’s Wellness Centers provide free testing for sexually transmitted
diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. To find the
nearest location for STD screening and treatment, visit http://www.freestdcheck.org.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
1,000,000 individuals in 42 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Senior
Director, Communications
+1.323.308.1833 work
+1.323.791.5526
mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org

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