Federal funding for STD prevention has been slashed time after time, with devastating consequences for Americans
As an organization, we are saddened and concerned, but unfortunately not surprised by reports that 76 people* in Milwaukee have contracted syphilis, HIV, or both. Milwaukee, like the rest of the country, is experiencing an STD crisis.
Over the past two decades, federal funding for STD prevention has been slashed time after time. As a result, prevention programs have suffered, and infections have skyrocketed to an all-time high – with devastating health consequences for Americans. In just the past year alone, chlamydia rates have increased 5 percent, gonorrhea rates are up 19 percent, and syphilis rates have soared by more than 17 percent, including a staggering 28 percent increase in the number of babies born with the infection, which can lead to severe health problems, including blindness and even death.
“This is unacceptable,” says David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “Those of us working in the field know that STD prevention works when it’s funded. Investing just 10 cents per person per year in syphilis prevention could cut the number of syphilis cases by almost a third. The tens of thousands of cases of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility that publicly funded STD programs are still preventing every single year lead to nearly $100 million in health care savings alone. With increased support, they could be doing so much more.”
As lawmakers work to finalize a FY18 spending package, we ask them not to ignore the crisis that is gripping Milwaukee and many other U.S. cities. This crisis has been ignored for far too long at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens.
“Congress must recognize that these epidemics will continue to rage if federal investment does not rise to meet the ever-rising tide of STD rates, and we call on congress to increase federal funding for STD prevention at CDC,” says Harvey.
*Please note this data was updated on March 16, 2018 based on the most recent reports from City of Milwaukee Public Health