AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases surged in the United States in 2021, and there are no signs of the rates slowing any time soon.

Of the three sexually transmitted infections the organization mentioned in this report, syphilis saw the most dramatic increase in reported cases. On a national level, 171,074 cases were reported in 2021, while there were 101,590 cases in 2017.

The increase also includes congenital syphilis, which is when a mother passes the infection on to the baby during pregnancy.

The CDC reported in the last five years, the primary and secondary syphilis rate has risen by 204.3% in women and 55.2% in men.

In the release, the CDC broke down the numbers by region. The four regions included the West, the Midwest, the Northeast and the South. Data from Texas cases were included in the Southern region.

Graphs made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the rise in STD rates in the United States
Graphs made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the rise in STD rates in the United States

Data on STI rates in the South mirrored the rate in the country overall, however, the South had the highest rate of reported primary and secondary syphilis cases than any other region, according to CDC data.

This data is preliminary, and the CDC will continue to examine reported cases until it releases its official 2021 STD surveillance report in 2023.

Though the national trends show considerable increases, Austin Public Health said the rates it is seeing in the area are not ringing any alarm bells.

“We are seeing increases in rates of new infections of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia and HIV. And while these rates are rising, it isn’t at a rate that we consider alarming,” Madeleine Flanagan, a program manager at Austin Public Health, said.

The rate of STIs is rising, Flanagan said, but the growth does not seem to be outpacing the rate of population growth in the area.

Despite unremarkable rates in the area, Austin Public Health is continuing to expand efforts, so it can keep up with the region’s growth.

“We are working to ensure that anyone who tests positive for something like syphilis or HIV are getting the services that they need, as well as any of their potential contacts, making sure that they get treated, or preventatively treated for certain STIs as well as getting tested,” Flanigan said.

“We definitely just want to prioritize increasing the awareness and education that the people in Austin have,” Flannigan said. “A lot of these services are free, and we try to make it as accessible as possible. STI testing and sexual health is definitely something that affects everyone,” she added.

If you need a screening, you can visit Austin’s free Sexual Health Clinic. Austin Public Health also goes into the community to provide testing opportunities – the schedule can be found online.