Thursday January 17, 2019

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

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)

Next Story

William Barr, U.S. Attorney General Nominee Grilled On Russia Probe

The nominee criticized so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not notify federal officials about undocumented immigrants who are taken into custody.

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Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr, goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee again Wednesday, after pledging in his first day of confirmation hearings to shield the special counsel’s Russia probe from political pressure.

In his initial appearance before the panel, Barr also took issue with Trump’s labeling the investigation of his inner circle’s contacts with Moscow as a “witch hunt.”

“I don’t believe (special counsel Robert) Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt,” Barr said, adding that he intends to let the probe run its course and that the results should be made known to the public and Congress.

Barr said the special counsel could only be terminated for good cause and that “it’s unimaginable” that Mueller would “ever do anything that gave rise to good cause.”

Democrats repeatedly stressed the importance of independence to the role of attorney general and noted Trump’s penchant for lashing out at the Justice Department.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accompanied by Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.,(R) questions Attorney General nominee William Barr during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

“I believe it is important that the next attorney general be able to strongly resist pressure, whether from the administration or Congress,” California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said. “He must have the integrity, the strength and the fortitude to tell the president ‘no’ regardless of the consequences.”

“If confirmed, the president is going to expect you to his bidding. I can almost guarantee he’ll cross the line at some point,” Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

“I can truly be independent,” Barr insisted. “I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences … I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong.”

Barr’s memo

Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H. W. Bush, has drawn scrutiny for a memo he wrote last year criticizing special counsel Mueller for examining whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation by firing then-FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference to announce a criminal law enforcement action involving China, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Nov. 1, 2018. VOA

In a memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, Barr opined that probing Trump’s actions toward Comey was “fatally misconceived” and “grossly irresponsible.”

The memo, written last June, came to light after Trump nominated Barr, 68, to succeed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump ousted over his recusal from oversight of the Russia investigation. The document sparked widespread concern among minority Democrats in the Senate, who have long feared Trump intends to shut down the probe.

At the confirmation hearing, Barr argued his memo was “narrow in scope” and did not address the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other “potential obstruction-of-justice theories.”

Later in the hearing, Barr said, “I think Russians attempted to interfere with the [2016] election, and I think we have to get to the bottom of it.”

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Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

Republicans also sought assurances from the nominee. The committee’s new chairman, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, expressed outrage over extensive communications between two FBI agents during the 2016 presidential campaign that showed extreme bias and prejudice against Trump.

“We’re relying on you to clean this place up,” Graham said of the Justice Department.

Graham also asked if, as commander in chief, Trump has the authority to divert federal funding in order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Without looking at the statute, I really couldn’t answer that,” Barr replied.

Also Read: “I Never Worked For Russia”, Says US President Donald Trump

The nominee criticized so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not notify federal officials about undocumented immigrants who are taken into custody. He also weighed in on the current standoff between the White House and congressional Democrats over border wall funding.

“I would like to see a deal reached whereby Congress recognizes that it’s imperative to have border security, and that part of that border security, as a commonsense matter, needs barriers,” Barr said. (VOA)