CDC report shows nationwide increase of STI cases

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The latest report by the CDC says a total of more than 2.5 million cases of STD’s in the U.S. in 2021– with no signs of slowing.

Dr. Tracy Carlson says New Mexico is seeing the same trend.

“I do know that a lot of New Mexico is medically underserved. So I might guess that people don’t have great access to get treatment in a timely manner when they do have an illness,” said Carlson. 

CDC data shows New Mexico has the fifth-highest rate of chlamydia, the sixth-highest rate of gonorrhea, and the sixth-highest rate of syphilis in the U.S.

The CDC says the nationwide trend is a result of fewer people using condoms, poor sex education, and fewer people testing for STI’s during the pandemic.

“Talk with your healthcare providers, and they might want to bring up this Doxy-PEP study and see what their own doctor thinks and whether it would be a good idea for them,” Carlson said. 

Carlson is referring to an old drug, a cheap antibiotic that’s been around for more than 50 years that could be used as a sort of morning after pill to prevent STI’s.

“Doxycycline is an antibiotic. So it works against a variety of bacterial illnesses. As far as sexually transmitted infections, we usually use it to treat chlamydia. But it’s also a second line treatment for syphilis,” said Carlson. 

New CDC data shows that it decreases the risk of all sexually transmitted diseases.

“It’s still preliminary data, there’s still a lot of study going on. But I think it’s really an exciting finding,” said Carlson.