A modelling study highlighted by the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) found that one in ten new cases of HIV in gay and bisexual men are linked to gonorrhea and chlamydia infection, reported Gay Star News.
It has been known that both STIs can increase the risk for HIV transmission. However, health experts are concerned about how they may impact tackling HIV, as the rates of both gonorrhea and chlamydia are rising.
Between 2013-2017, there was a 22 percent increase in chlamydia and a 67 percent increase in gonorrhea in the U.S. Comparatively, there has been a 13 percent drop in HIV diagnosis in the last eight years.
Although it’s unknown the exact extent to which the two STIs increase HIV transmission, researchers from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say their findings should be used in the public health sphere to address the issue of STIs and HIV.
“This study highlights a clear need for a federal investment in the STD field and serves as a stark reminder that HIV and STD prevention must go hand-in-hand,” said David C. Harvey, the executive director of NCSD. “The historic levels of STDs imperil our progress towards ending HIV. We can’t hope to end HIV without also addressing STDs.”
“STDs lead to serious health problems, and now this study shows two of our most common STDs can cause HIV,” Harvey continued. “This is a wakeup call to our country to respond to the real and growing threat of STDs.”
Since 2003, there has been a 40 percent cut in STD prevention program funding, according to the NCSD. The organization is asking for $70 million from Congress to tackle the problem.