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The Rise in Sexually Transmitted Diseases

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released their 2018 sexually transmitted disease report with alarming results. Diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are increasing at rapid rates. 

It is clear that our societal efforts to promote education and prevention are not having the desired effect on reducing the rate of STD transmission. How does this impact the mission at Caring Network?

Caring Network is a non-profit organization that works with women and men facing unexpected pregnancies in the Chicagoland area.  While counseling someone who is concerned about a possible pregnancy, there are opportunities to discuss healthy life choices, including abstaining from sexual activity and providing local referrals for STD testing and information regarding their risks.  Important work is taking place at Caring Network, helping to address not only the potential for an unexpected pregnancy, but the issues surrounding it.  Find out more about how to get involved today. 

Rise in STD Rates Nationally

According to the CDC, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are the three most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases.  Among these three, from 2017-18 the rates of transmission of syphilis and gonorrhea reached their highest levels since 1991.  Chlamydia reached it’s highest level ever.  In addition, one of the biggest causes for concern is the rate of congenital syphilis among newborns, which caused 94 deaths last year.

STD Rates in Illinois

The STD rate in Illinois is alarming.  Our state ranks higher than the national average with all three reported STDs.  Chlamydia is the highest, with Illinois coming in at number 9 out of 50 states.  This is especially c, considering the populations most impacted, including newborn infants. According to Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/Aids, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, “STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations.  Curbing STDs will improve the overall health of the nation and prevent infertility, HIV, and infant deaths.”

STDs and Pregnancy

At Caring Network, the rise in syphilis, especially congenital syphilis, is important to note, as women who are pregnant are more at risk.  Congenital syphilis is passed from mother to child and may prove fatal.  It’s even more imperative that pregnant women are tested and those who may be susceptible to pregnancy are educated about this risk.  According to the CDC, ‘The national rise in congenital syphilis parallels increases in syphilis among women of reproductive age. From 2017 to 2018, syphilis cases increased 36 percent among women of childbearing age. Addressing rising syphilis incidence is critical to prevent congenital syphilis.”

Another factor involved in congenital syphilis is the risk of abortion, as some women may determine that they would prefer to not carry the pregnancy to term.  At Caring Network, our mission is to reduce the rate of abortion in DuPage County and beyond.  Addressing risk factors such as these and providing STD testing referrals and other services that facilitate the well-being of women and their unborn babies have been a priority since 1981.  Learn more about our organization and how you can partner with us in our ministry today. 



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