Friday November 16, 2018

USA Sees A Significant Rise Of STD Cases According to CDC

Researchers say the increases in STDs can be attributed to socioeconomic factors like poverty, stigma, discrimination, and drug use.

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This April 1, 2016 file photos shows a billboard above a gas station that reads "Feel The Burn," a play on then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign slogan, "Feel The Bern." It's actually promoting testing for sexually transmitted diseases. VOA
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The number of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States is hitting record highs, according to latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in 2017, says the CDC. This is the fourth year of increases in STDs and the figures broke 2016’s record by more than 200,000 cases.

Chlamydia remained the most common condition reported to the CDC. More than 1.7 million cases were diagnosed in 2017, with 45 percent among 15- to 24-year-old females.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis often go undiagnosed and untreated, leading to conditions including infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.

“We are sliding backward,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, in a news release. “It is evident the systems that identify, treat and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to [a] near-breaking point.

“Diagnosed cases of gonorrhea increased 67 percent from 333,004 to 555,608 cases, and nearly doubled among men, from 169,130 cases to 322,169 in preliminary data for 2017. Diagnosed cases among women increased for the third year in a row from 197,499 to 232,587.

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A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. VOA

Syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent, from 17,375 to 30,644 cases. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men made up almost 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases where the gender of the sex partner is known in 2017. Primary and secondary syphilis are the most infectious stages of the disease.

Researchers say the increases in STDs can be attributed to socioeconomic factors like poverty, stigma, discrimination, and drug use.

While most of the diseases are curable with antibiotics, gonorrhea continues to be resistant to nearly every class of antibiotics used to treat it, with the exception of ceftriaxone.

Also Read: There’s No Healthy Level for Consuming Alcohol, Lancet Study Confirms

In 2015, the drug azithromycin was added to treatment for gonorrhea to help delay resistance to ceftriaxone. New CDC findings show that emerging resistance to azithromycin is on the rise in laboratory testing.

“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention in a press release. “We can’t let our defenses down — we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.” (VOA)

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Advanced Technology Required To Tackle Online Sex Trade and Trafficking: Analysts

At least 40 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide.

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People opposed to child sex trafficking rally in Washington. VOA

The online sale of sex slaves is going strong despite new U.S. laws to clamp down on the crime, data analysts said Wednesday, urging a wider use of technology to fight human trafficking.

In April, the United States passed legislation aimed at making it easier to prosecute social media platforms and websites that facilitate sex trafficking, days after a crackdown on classified ad giant Backpage.com.

The law resulted in an immediate and sharp drop in sex ads online but numbers have since picked up again, data presented at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference showed.

“The market has been destabilized and there are now new entrants that are willing to take the risk in order to make money,” Chris White, a researcher at tech giant Microsoft who gathered the data, told the event in London.

Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct, trafficking
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

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Backpage.com, a massive advertising site primarily used to sell sex — which some analysts believe accounted for 80 percent of online sex trafficking in the United States — was shut down by federal authorities in April.

Days later, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which introduced stiff prison sentences and fines for website owners and operators found guilty of contributing to sex trafficking, was passed into law.

The combined action caused the number of online sex ads to fall 80 percent to about 20,000 a day nationwide, White said.

The number of ads has since risen to about 60,000 a day, as new websites filled the gap, he said.

In October — in response to a lawsuit accusing it of not doing enough to protect users from human traffickers — social media giant Facebook said it worked internally and externally to thwart such predators.

 

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This April 6, 2018, file photo shows a screenshot of Backpage.com on the day that federal authorities seized the classified site as part of a criminal case. VOA

 

Using technology to continuously monitor and analyze this kind of data is key to evaluating existing laws and designing new and more effective ones, White said.

“It really highlights what’s possible through policy,” added Valiant Richey, a former U.S. prosecutor who now fights human trafficking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), echoing the calls for new methods.

Law enforcement agencies currently tackle slavery one case at a time, but the approach lacks as the crime is too widespread and authorities are short of resources, he said.

As a prosecutor in Seattle, Richey said his office would work on up to 80 cases a year, while online searches revealed more than 100 websites where sex was sold in the area, some carrying an average of 35,000 ads every month.

Also Read: Sexual Misconduct Cases Will Be Handled Better: Google

“We were fighting forest fire with a garden hose,” he said. “A case-based response to human trafficking will not on its own carry the day.”

At least 40 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide — with nearly 25 million trapped in forced labor and about 15 million in forced marriages. (VOA)