As cases of sexually transmitted diseases continue to rise in the United States, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control are now anxious about a new "untreatable" form of gonorrhea.
For the fourth year in a row, the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have gone up in the United States with almost 2.3 million cases reported, according to the CDC. Females between the ages of 15 and 24 made up 45 percent of the cases. That number is 200,000 more than the previous record set in 2016.
To put it bluntly, as Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, did in a CDC press release: "We are sliding backward".
"It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point".
Gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67 percent overall and almost doubled among men.
Health officials have issued stark warnings as data reveals that sexually transmitted infections are soaring in the US.
Primary and secondary syphilis, of which there were 30,644 diagnoses in 2017, represented a 76 percent increase.
All three STDs can be treated with antibiotics, however the CDC noted most cases go undiagnosed and untreated, leading to health problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk. Gonorrhea cases alone jumped a shocking 67 percent from the number in 2013, according to the analysis presented at the CDC's 2018 STD Prevention Conference in Washington.
It marks the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in STDs, the CDC said.
The diseases are soaring among heterosexual men along with pregnant women and their babies, according to the report.
The finding adds concerns that azithromycin-resistant genes in some gonorrhea could crossover into strains of gonorrhea with reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone - and that a strain of gonorrhea may someday surface that does not respond to ceftriaxone.
The CDC also reported that the threat of untreatable gonorrhea continues in the United States.