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Rise In STDs In The Denver Metro Area Linked To Hookup Apps, Decreased Condom Use

DENVER (CBS4)- A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows sexually transmitted diseases have once again reached an all-time high across the country. That includes the Denver metro area. According to the CDC report, STD infections are up for the fifth consecutive year.

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The report tallied cases from 2017 to 2018 and it shows there's a continued resurgence of the top most commonly reported STDs which are Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. The leading infection was Chlamydia with 1.8 million cases, a 19% increase since 1994. Gonorrhea had 583,405 cases; 63% increase since 2014. Syphilis counted 35,063 cases, a 71% jump from 2014. Congenital Syphilis is passed on from the mother to baby, and there was a jump with 1,306 cases, a 185% increase since 2014. In addition, 100 babies died from complications because of Congenital Syphilis in 2018.

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In Denver, Chlamydia is the most common STD. There were 7,300 cases in 2018 which the Denver Health Department estimates at about 1 in 100 people. Acting Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Dr. Daniel Shodell says people, as well as physicians, need to be aware there is an increased risk.

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"This was another, unfortunately, record-breaking year, it was last year as well, these numbers are unprecedented. Our big concern in Colorado right now is actually Syphilis. We actually saw more than 1,000 cases of Syphilis in 2018 which is the first time we crossed that threshold," Shodell said.

As to why the numbers are going up, he said there's a list of potential factors.

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"In terms for the reason for these increases for sexually transmitted infections, we don't know for sure. There are probably a mixture of things at play. There can be the hook-up apps formerly what we call the geosocial networking applications; Tinder and Grinder playing a role. There might be decreased condom use. There might be some overlap with the opioid epidemic and increased substance use disorder. And Coloradans not protecting themselves as they have in the past."

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Shodell adds that these top three STDs are curable, that is why testing is so important. Using protection can also help to prevent the spread of these diseases.

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