The number of Americans with common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) has jumped to record levels, according to new research.
For the fourth year in a row, the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have gone up in the United States with almost 2.3 million cases reported, according to the CDC. Chlamydia was the worst offender with 1.7 million new cases, and about 45 percent of those to contract the STD were women between the ages of 15 and 24.
"We are sliding backward", said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
The numbers were described as "very concerning" by Dr Gail Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency which released the stats.
"The United States continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world", said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and increased HIV risk.
Health officials have issued stark warnings as data reveals that sexually transmitted infections are soaring in the US.
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Syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent, from 17,375 cases to 30,664 cases.
It marks the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in STDs, the CDC said.
Over the years, gonorrhea has become resistant to almost every class of antibiotics used to treat it, except to ceftriaxone, the only remaining highly effective antibiotic to treat gonorrhea in the United States.
These STDs are curable with antibiotics, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated, according to the CDC.
"The field desperately needs new resources", he said.
Public health experts are also concerned about antibiotic resistant gonorrhea.
It began recommending healthcare providers prescribe a single shot of ceftriaxone along with an oral dose of azithromycin - a prescription medication used to treat bacterial infections - to treat gonorrhea in 2015, in order to help delay the development of resistance to ceftriaxone.