Three major sexually-transmitted diseases reached a historic high in infection cases in 2018, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The combined number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have continued to increase, reaching what the CDC described as “an all-time high in the United States in 2018.”
According to a report released Tuesday, the CDC found that from 2017 to 2018, chlamydia cases increased 3 percent to more than 1.7 million cases, the highest number of such cases ever reported to the CDC.
Gonorrhea cases increased 5 percent to more than 580,000, which is the highest reported number since 1991. There were also 115,000 syphilis cases, with the number of “secondary syphilis cases” increasing by 14 percent to more than 35,000 cases, the highest reported number since 1991.
CDC attributed the rise in the three STDs to multiple factors, among them drug use and poverty, decreased condom usage among groups including young people and gay men, and state and local government cuts to STD programs.
“STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention in a statement released Tuesday.
“Curbing STDs will improve the overall health of the nation and prevent infertility, HIV, and infant deaths.”
The CDC report also found an increase in congenital syphilis, which occurs when a baby is exposed to syphilis through its mother, with newborn deaths tied to congenital syphilis increasing 22 percent from 2017 to 2018 from 77 to 94 deaths.
The Reverend Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, blamed social acceptance of extramarital sex for the statistics.
“Hollywood is busy promoting promiscuity to the world—almost every movie, every television show is focused on sex. The saying goes, ‘sex sells,’” stated Graham in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“God made us male and female and gave sex for us to enjoy inside a marriage relationship between a man and a woman—not two men, not two women. The Bible says that anyone who sins sexually, sins against their own body. How true.”
Graham then addressed those who might be reading his post that have a sexually transmitted disease, imploring them to confess their sins.
“You can be forgiven! He can cleanse your heart, and in His eyes, it will be as though you’ve never sinned,” he concluded.