April 8, 2024/Daily Health Stories

Why STIs are on the Rise in the US

April is STI Awareness Month. An infectious disease specialist discusses why STI cases are on the rise, and what can be done to help prevent them.

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CLEVELAND - April is STI Awareness Month.

Reports show that sexually transmitted infections are on the rise, especially with cases of syphilis.

“Why that is, I am not particularly certain. I think part of it is there is a lot with syphilis where there is unknown primary cases, and then lack of diagnosis, lack of awareness, and then transmission to other partners after that,” said Donald Dumford, MD, infectious disease specialist for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Dumford said symptoms of syphilis can include painless ulcers and sores on the genitals, body rashes, muscle pain and fatigue.

If left untreated, it can cause blindness and damage your organs.

Dr. Dumford said the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to use protection and regularly get tested.

There is also no shame in going in for an examination if you suspect you may have contracted something.

The sooner you are treated, the better.

“As far as treatment goes, there are different options depending on which sexually transmitted infection it is, all of which are relatively benign and mostly well tolerated,” Dr. Dumford noted.

According to the CDC, HPV is considered the most common sexually transmitted infection out there, which is why the HPV vaccine is recommended.

It can help protect against HPV infections that can progress to cancer.

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Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.

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