Einstein STD Diagnoses Mirror National Trends
The record number of sexually transmitted diseases reported this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerning for more than one reason, according to David Jaspan, DO, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. Some reasons for concern are obvious: individuals who are having unprotected sex are risking serious health consequences if they don’t get treated. Indeed, chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common STDs in women, can lead to pelvic disease and in the worst-case scenario, infertility.
Since infected individuals often don’t experience symptoms, it’s urgent that all women, especially those under the age of 25, who are most at risk, be routinely tested, Dr. Jaspan said. Individuals who don’t know they’re infected can pass on that infection unwittingly.
“Any woman who is sexually active should discuss the opportunity to be screened with her provider,” Dr. Jaspan said, whether that’s a gynecologist or a primary care doctor. “It can be as simple as a urine collection. Treatment is imperative because it has a potential impact on a woman’s ability to have children.”
Any woman who is sexually active should discuss the opportunity to be screened with her provider.
“Additionally, patients can end up hospitalized in need of major surgery, and prolonged hospitalizations for pelvic inflammatory disease,” he said.
Einstein, which is experiencing an uptick in cases that mirrors the national trends, offers routine screening to all female patients.
The rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia soared to 2.3 million cases in the United States last year, climbing for the fourth year in a row. Nearly half of the chlamydia cases affected girls between the ages of 15 and 24. Chlamydia is the most common STD reported at Einstein, and in the country.
The statistics were presented at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, where officials labeled the increase in STDs a “public health crisis.”
Dr. Jaspan attributes much of the increase in the STD statistics in recent years to better screening. And he’s concerned that cuts in STD programs across the country—more than half the STD programs at public health clinics across the country have had their budgets cut—will make matters worse. The cuts result in reduced clinic hours, limits on screening and outreach to the sex partners of infected patients.
“You can only report what you see,” Jaspan said.