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A Call for Major Federal Spending Reform as STDs Reach an All-Time High

Wednesday Nov 20, 2019
The new report shows that from 2017 to 2018, there were increases in the three most commonly reported STDs.
The new report shows that from 2017 to 2018, there were increases in the three most commonly reported STDs.  (Source:Getty Images)

A new report released by the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) calls for major reforms in how the U.S. funds and supports STD prevention and care amid a growing public health crisis.

The study's expert panel calls for re-establishing specialty STD clinics, providing flexibility for federal funding streams to maximize state and local control, leveraging HIV dollars to benefit STDs, and increasing work to fight stigma and provide more science-based sexual health education for youth.

"The report provides a clear call to action and strategic recommendations to address the U.S. STD epidemic," noted Georges C. Benjamin, MD, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and chairman of the study committee that issued the report. Cases of STDs continue to rise in the U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting in October that combined syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia cases reached an all-time high in 2018.

"The tragedy here is we have an infectious disease epidemic that we know how to diagnose, treat and prevent," said Benjamin, who is executive director of the American Public Health Association. "It shows once again that we need significant improvements in our public health system to protect the public's health."

David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, thanked the Academy and the expert panel for "delivering a roadmap for fighting STDs in America" and called on leaders to take action.

"The experts have spoken: Government policy needs to allow greater flexibility in how funds can be used by cities and states to tailor responses to local needs," Harvey said. "And, Congress and the states need to radically increase funding to bring this epidemic under control."

"State and local communities know best what works in their communities. A one-size-fits-all approach by the federal government to STD prevention and services simply doesn't work. We can and must do better," Harvey added.

The Academy's report, "The STD Epidemic in America: The Frontline Struggle" was independently commissioned by NCSD in 2019 and is Phase II of a two-part study.

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