01/08/2014 01:54 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Gonorrhea, Syphilis Increasing In The US, STD Report Shows


More and more people are developing gonorrhea and syphilis in the U.S., according to a new government report examining cases of three sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The report, released Wednesday (Jan. 8) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that there were 334,826 cases of gonorrhea reported in 2012, which is a 4.1 percent increase from 2011. Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhea, which grows in warm and moist parts of the body (including in a woman's reproductive tract). Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, though the CDC noted that antibiotic resistance is becoming a growing concern.

"With increased resistance to the fluoroquinolones and the declining susceptibility to cefixime, dual therapy with ceftriaxone and either azithromycin or doxycycline is now the only CDC recommended treatment for gonorrhea," according to the report. "Continued monitoring of susceptibility patterns to these antibiotics is critical."

There were 15,667 cases of primary and secondary syphilis (the first two stages of syphilis) in 2012. The rate of primary and secondary syphilis increased 11.1 percent since 2011, with most cases accounting for the increase occurring in gay and bisexual men. Syphilis is also caused by a bacteria, called Treponema palladum.

Fortunately, the rate of congenital congenital syphilis (when an infected mother passes the disease on to her offspring) decreased from 2011 to 2012 by 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the chlamydia rate remained largely the same between 2011 and 2012, increasing by only 0.7 percent. There were 1,422,976 cases of chlamydia reported in 2012. Chlamydia is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.