The Modern STD Epidemic: What Does That Mean for Fertility?

The STD Epidemic

According to the CDC, 2017 brought in a record high number of STD cases in the United States. We’re looking at 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis alone (1). Our nation is at the point where the public health community is referring to our state as an “STD Epidemic”.

In just one year, the number of gonorrhea cases increased by 67% (2). This is causing widespread fear as gonorrhea is becoming resistant to the antibiotic used to treat it (3). 45% of the 1.7 million chlamydia cases in 2017 occured in women between the ages of 15 and 24 (2).

 

STDs Impact Fertility

Infertility in Women

Most women who have chlamydia and gonorrhea don’t show symptoms. If left untreated, these infections can develop into Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). The CDC calls this the “silent” infection, as it creeps up your genital trace and permanently damaged the uterus, fallopian tubes, and other tissue. The result? Infertility (4).

 

Infertility in Men

According to data out of Stanford University, STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea may block the epididymis and tubes that transport sperm (5). Other studies warn that chlamydia may interfere with sperm count, it’s ability to move, and DNA fragmentation in sperm (6). Though research still debates the true impact of STDs on male fertility, these have been some of the current findings.

 

The takeaway? Use protection (condoms or dental dams) during all forms of sexual activity. Make sure you get tested for STDs at least once of year- or more depending on the frequency of sexual activity and number of partners. Even if you aren’t concerned about the infertility component, STDs can cause painful, lasting damage to your body if left untreated. Others? Well, they’re incurable.  

 

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2018/press-release-2018-std-prevention-conference.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/arg/default.htm
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/std/infertility/default.htm
  5. http://web.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/New%20Ways%20of%20Making%20Babies/causemal.htm
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604566/

 

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