CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The increase in Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) cases during the COVID-19 pandemic increased exponentially, raising concern nationwide.

According to a new study, STD case numbers increased significantly from 2000 to 2020 and found that the problem has been a concern for a while, especially in West Virginia. The number of STD cases per 100,000 residents increased by 197% in West Virginia from 2000-2020 making it the fifth highest increase in the nation.

The reasons behind this increase:

  • 20 years ago, STD rates were much lower. Gonorrhea rates in the U.S. were very low, syphilis was close to being non existent, and advances in chlamydia diagnostics made it easier to detect and treat infections. Unfortunately,  factors such as decrease in STD prevention awareness, unsafe sex practices, and antibiotic resistant strains of these diseases have contributed to the rapid rise in STD rates.
  • Where are we now? Nationally, cases of primary and secondary syphilis rose 505% between 2000 and 2020, which was the biggest increase among the 5 STDs that were tracked. Congenital syphilis cases jumped 303%, Early non-primary, non-secondary syphilis cases rose 285% and Chlamydia cases increased 92% in the same time period. Gonorrhea cases also rose by 61%.
  • STDs became a Financial Burden.  For Americans struggling financially, any health scare, which could include an STD diagnosis can be stressful. While most ACA compliant health insurance policies cover STD tests and treatments, Americans seeking treatment will still need to pay the copays for office visits and medication, or pay out of pocket until their deductible is met. The situation becomes more difficult and desperate for those that have no health insurance.

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