Syphilis cases up 26% in 2021, CDC finds

Reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases sharply increased in 2021, preliminary CDC data shows. 

The total number of STD cases recorded in the U.S. jumped from 2.4 million in 2020 to 2.5 million in 2021. Syphilis cases had the steepest increase, rising 26 percent since 2020.   Between 2019 and 2020, syphilis rates increased by just 7 percent.

Chronic underfunding of public health programs is a key contributor to rising STD rates, according to Leandro Mena, MD, director of CDC’s division of STD prevention.

"Over two decades of level funding, when you account for inflation and population changes, have effectively decreased the buying power of public health dollars and resulted in the reduction of STI services at the local level," he told Politico. "That reduction in screening, treatment and partner services likely contributed to these STI increases."

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