The Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) has received numerous criticisms from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) over a report they released in October 2016, “Reported STDs at Unprecedented High in the U.S”. The AHF is hitting hard on the CDC’s report saying that the organisation has lost a sense of direction by approving of the extensive abandonment of the use of condoms or what they called the ‘condom culture’ for prevention of STDs and HIV. As a result, the number of sexually transmitted infections has shot up predominantly among the younger population group.
What does the Report Say?
The CDC report stated that the number of infected people has increased to an all-time high for three of the most common STDs. New cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis cases have been reported to be especially high among teenagers and young adults. In addition, most of gonorrhoea and syphilis cases were reported among men who have sex with men and those who swing both ways.
According to the CDC, the increase could be in part attributed to the wearing down of STD prevention systems and campaigns. This includes cutting down on budgets for state and local STD programs. In addition, CDC noted that people have the perception that they do not need condoms and this is because of the improvements in the prevention and treatment of HIV.
The AHF has sharply criticised CDC blaming them for the high numbers of STDs among young people throughout the country. AHF officials claim that the lack of promotion of the use of condoms and the budget cuts in STD prevention by the CDC are to blame for the high numbers. He further said that condoms remain the best method of prevention against STDs yet CDC is not promoting its usage as it should be doing.
AHF also criticised CDC for requesting less funding for STD prevention for the year 2017. The request for less funding in 2017 as compared to 2016 was viewed as a setback especially when local and international agencies had reported in April 2016 that the number of STDs continues to rise year in year out. Syphilis showed more numbers than ever seen before the beginning of the HIV epidemic. Additionally, drug-resistant chains of STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhoea required a new treatment mechanism.
For the year 2017, CDC requested less funding than it did in 2016 for HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hepatitis, and tuberculosis (TB). The organisation’s funding request for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Research was lower by 10$ million than the previous year with funding requests for STIs remaining stagnant. It is important to note that what CDC requested for 2017 is much less what it actually received in 2016.
AHF’s solutions for the public health issue
Some advocates at AHF have noted that between the period December 2013 to January 2014 the change of the phrase “unprotected sex” to define sex without a condom to the use of the phrase” unprotected sex” might be viewed by some people that condomless sex is protected.
Furthermore, the erosion of the condom culture was also observed in February 2016 when CDC came up with a plan to prevent more than 150,000 new HIV infections but failed to mention condoms as a prevention tool. For AHF, CDC should come up with campaigns for STD prevention that are innovative and aggressive. The campaigns should include messages of use of condoms for prevention of STDs.
What do you think? Is the CDC to blame?