Why Gonorrhea Rates Are Rising

In recent years, there’s been a shocking increase in the rates of gonorrhea among the population. In 2018, there were a total of 583,405 cases of gonorrhea in the United States, a stark increase from the 301,174 cases reported in 2009, the lowest on record since the CDC first began tracking the disease in 1941. HealthLynked shares how gonorrhea has transitioned from a historic low to an all-time high.

Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea

Contracting an STD is frightening enough without knowing for sure if the classic treatment will be able to cure you. Since 1993, regimens utilizing either ciprofloxacin, fluoroquinolone, ceftriaxone, and cefixime were the standard treatment for gonorrhea. By the early 2000s, doctors began to note resistant strains on the west coast of the United States, and by 2010, these strains had spread globally. Since that time, there have been frequent revisions and cuts to the CDC’s list of recommended treatments for the disease, so much so that today only a single shot of cephalosporin is recommended as a first-line treatment. While new treatments are always in the works, these new, insidious strains of gonorrhea pose a severe threat to the population at large.

Gonorrhea Reporting & Testing 

There’s currently a nationwide shortage of various types of test kits due to the rise of COVID-19, a troubling issue that will, in turn, cause the rates of all manner of infections and diseases to spike, including gonorrhea. This isn’t the first time there’s been a lack of testing in gonorrhea, but even more worrisome is the lack of reporting if and when a test is completed. In 2017, only 9.3% of gonorrhea cases were reported from STD clinics. Hospitals and private practices accounted for 76.7% of reported cases. This information highlights the need for identification and spread tracking, essential components for treating affected patients and curtailing the spread of gonorrhea.

What You Can Do to Fight the Spread of Gonorrhea

Though the challenges are real, and the stakes are high where gonorrhea is concerned, the best thing the general public can do is keep their doctor aware of their situation. Always be sure to report any symptoms to your HealthLynked provider. Speak to your doctor about home testing kits, and as always, practice safe intimacy and try to limit your number of sexual partners.


“Basic Information about ARG – STD Information from CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/arg/basic.htm.

“Gonorrhea – 2017 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/gonorrhea.htm.

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