The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new data showing that health care providers diagnosed more than 2 million people with syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia in 2016. That's a record high in the U.S.
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Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Stacey Rizza calls the CDC figures alarming.
"High-risk groups for all three generally are about the same," Dr. Rizza says. "We do know that younger people who are sexually active tend to be at a slightly higher risk."
Dr. Rizza says riskier sexual behavior, like having multiple sex partners and not using barrier protection during sex, puts people at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI). She says it's unclear whether or not the rise of dating apps and younger people having sexual relationships with strangers could also be a contributing factor to the recent rise in STIs in this age group.
"The major risk factor is having [sex] with partners where you don't know their situation and their status for a sexually transmitted infection and people who have multiple sex partners," Dr. Rizza says.
She says the key to slowing the spread of STIs is having people get tested regularly, and educating people on how to prevent them.
"A condom would prevent the spread of all three sexually transmitted infections as well as HIV," Dr. Rizza says.
She also says preventing STIs has becoming increasingly important as multiple strains of sexually transmitted infections have becoming antibiotic-resistant.